Hundreds of army defectors in southern Syria have fought with tank-backed loyalist forces in one of the biggest armed confrontations in a nine-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, residents and activists said.
Troops, mainly from the 12th Armoured Brigade, based in Isra, 40km from the border with Jordan, stormed the nearby town of Busra al-Harir, the Reuters news agency reported.
The sound of explosions and heavy machine guns was heard in Busra al-Harir and in Lujah, an area of rocky hills north of the town, where defectors have been hiding and attacking military supply lines.
Earlier on Sunday, activists across the country launched a general strike to step up pressure on the country’s government to end its deadly crackdown.
At least 10 people were killed in Syria on Sunday as troops opened fire on demonstrators, according to activists. Three of them were killed in the city of Hama, two in Idlib, four in Homs and one in Daraa.