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      Syrian Army Deserters Mowed Down by Machine Guns in Idlib

      Dozens of Syrian Army soldiers were shot to death Monday as they fled their base in an attempt to desert in the province of Idlib.
      By Chana Ya'ar
      First Publish: 12/19/2011, 10:41 PM / Last Update: 12/19/2011, 11:41 PM

      Syrian tank unit joins opposition
      Syrian tank unit joins opposition
      Israel news screenshot: Ugarit News

      Dozens of Syrian Army soldiers were killed by machine gun fire Monday as they fled their base in an attempt to desert in the province of Idlib.

      The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the would-be defectors were shot to death by their former military comrades, citing witnesses who survived. According to the report, 72 of the would-be defectors were killed in the attack.

      A total of 114 people were killed by Syrian government forces on Monday, Al Jazeera reported, quoting the Syrian Revolution General Commission, comprised of 40 opposition groups.

      The United Nations General Assembly condemned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime Monday for its nine month-old crackdown on anti-government protesters, and the human rights abuses linked to it.

      The vote approving the resolution highlighted the growing isolation of the Syrian government among its own peers at the 193-member international body.

      A draft of the resolution was passed by the U.N.'s human rights committee, with strong Western and Arab support just one month ago.

      Although Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem signed an Arab League proposal to send foreign observers to ensure that Assad complies with an agreement to end the violence, it is not clear whether the Syrian president will honor his minister's signature.

      Several months ago, an envoy sent by Assad to the Arab League signed a similar agreement to stop the killing by Syrian Army troops, but the document was never honored.

      Syria's membership in the regional body has been suspended by the 22-nation Arab League due to Assad's non-compliance.

      The United Nations Human Rights Council decided last month the Syrian president is guilty of crimes against humanity, holding Assad personally responsible for the horrific crimes committed against his people by his military and security forces, including murder, torture and rape.

      At least 5,000 people -- those killed by government troops -- have died in the violence, including more than 1,000 murdered by security forces in the first two weeks of December alone.