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      Video: Rebels Block Army Access in Civil War

      All-out civil war breaks out in Syria as thousands of army deserters join protesters to fight the Syrian army. Tuesday’s death toll: 269.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 12/21/2011, 10:07 AM

      All-out civil war has broken out in Syria as an estimated 10,000 army deserters have joined protesters to fight the Syrian Army Tuesday, when nearly 100 of Assad’s soldiers were killed along with more than 150 civilians.

      Video: Protesters set fires on roads to block Syrian tanks and soldiers.

      Syrian President Bashar Assad is acting if he never agreed earlier this week to allow the Arab League to send in observers, who have not yet arrived. If they do, he will likely give them a guided and staged tour similar to one for tightly guarded foreign journalists Tuesday, who were shown soldiers bearing coffins of comrades killed by “terrorists.”

      Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said the observers would be free to travel within the country "under the protection of the state.”

      The fiercest fighting on Tuesday was in the province of Homs, near the Lebanese border. The opposition Syrian National Council, operating in Tunisia, marked the office recognition of the Free Syrian Army.

      If Assad thought that all-out attacks on civilians would quell the rebellion before Arab League observers arrived, he appears to be mistaken as his regime carries out new scare tactics.

      His regime submitted a new law to impose the death penalty for “terrorists,” which has become Assad’s code word for the opposition. The law also will apply to arms smugglers.

      The government-controlled SANA news agency reported, “Lebanese Defense Minister Fayez Ghusun confirmed…arms smuggling and entry of terrorist members of al-Qaeda as Syrian opposition [sic].” Lebanon is dominated by Hizbullah and pro-Syrian parties.

      Meanwhile, Assad has terminated the post of its ambassador to the United States, possibly an action of anger at the return to Damascus of U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford. He had left the capital because of death threats after he met with leaders of the opposition.