23 dead in clash between defectors and Syrian army

There were also attacks reported against workers who were in strike in Aleppo. Washington Post:

Clashes between Syrian troops and army defectors are said to have killed 23 people Sunday, while activists reported attacks on workers striking against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group, said government forces burned down a factory near the country's largest city, Aleppo, because its workers were participating in the "strike for dignity" day.

A spokesman for the opposition in Homs said that most shops, markets and schools across the city were closed for the strike and that security forces had looted shut businesses.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported fighting near the city of Idlib and in the rural areas around the capital, Damascus, with government forces pitted against army defectors and dissidents loosely grouped under the name Free Syrian Army. The fighting, which caused injuries but no confirmed deaths, is a sign that the nearly nine-month-old uprising is becoming increasingly violent.

This "Free Syrian Army" seems to be getting organized, although rather slowly. They are headquartered in Turkey and have slowly been gathering defectors willing to fight. They are short of arms, heavy arms, and are struggling to agree on a common leadership. But if Assad continues his crackdown, in a matter of months, he will have a full scale civil war on his hands.

At that point, all bets would be off because if there is a danger the army leadership could lose its perks, they are likely to tell Bashar Assad to take a hike - or assassinate him. A civil war with the majority of the country against the government would be an extremely unstable situation and even the loyalty of the Alawites in Syria might be tested.