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Syrian ruling party members defect en masse

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"In view of the negative stance taken by the leadership of the Arab Socialist Baath Party towards the events in Syria and in Deraa, and after the death of hundreds and the wounding of thousands at the hands of the various security forces, we submit our collective resignation."

As of Thursday, more than 400 people had been killed since protests erupted, according to figures from various human rights organizations in Syria. In a separate statement, 30 Baath party members in the coastal town of Banias announced their resignation, the Wall Street Journal reported:

"Considering the breakdown of values and emblems that we were instilled with by the party and which were destroyed at the hand of the security forces … we announce our withdrawal from the party without regret," a letter by 30 party members from Banias said. The letter described the indiscriminate use of live ammunition and pervasive home raids in their city.

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