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      Syrian Troops at Three Borders to Stop Defections

      The troubled Assad regime has deployed soldiers on three borders – Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey – to try to stop more defections from the army.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 7/18/2011, 11:31 AM / Last Update: 7/18/2011, 11:34 AM

      The troubled Assad regime has deployed soldiers on three borders – Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey – to try to stop more defections from the army as the opposition plans civil disobedience, the first calculated action beyond protests.

      Syrian troops and secret police continued to shoot and kill civilians Sunday as tanks again rolled into the city of Homs, a major center of dissident activity, and Zabadanim located near the Lebanese border. Electricity, Internet connections and telephone communications were cut.

      Soldiers also were ferried by helicopter to an eastern town near a crossing point into Iraq, where dozens of soldiers turned against Syrian President Bashar Assad and joined the opposition.

      The army has been posted at the Turkish border since last month, when thousands of refugees began to flow across the border. Soldiers also were seen defecting and more than 100 were killed by loyalist soldiers several weeks ago.

      Opposition leaders in Istanbul have tried unifying their ranks and are planning a civil disobedience campaign, according to the UAE-based Khaleej Times.

      The objective is to “choke the regime economically and paralyze the state with the least damage,” according to Wael al-Hafez, one of the opposition leaders.