“If We Didn’t Shoot at Protesters, They Would Shoot Us.”

November 9, 2011
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FRONTLINE reporter Ramita Navai, who spent two weeks undercover in Syria, had this radio report on defectors from the Syrian Army on the “The World” yesterday.

Navai met with three men — each with his government-issued identity badge and uniform — who said they defected from the Army because they were forced to shoot on protesters.

“If we didn’t shoot at protesters, they would shoot us,” one defector told Navai. “I saw with my own eyes when my friend beside me refused to shoot at the protesters. A sniper shot him in the head.”

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Though the number of defectors who are joining armed opposition groups like the Free Syrian Army is disputed, some experts worry that more armed fighters could lead to a civil war.

Watch last night’s broadcast of Navai’s clandestine journey into the heart of the uprising and our in-depth profile of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Bonus: Watch Navai talk about her journey into Syria on Anderson Cooper 360 and PBS NewsHour.

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