Large rallies urging further defections from the Syrian security forces have been attacked by government gunmen, as a senior United Nations official warned that the country was sliding towards a full-blown civil war.
At least 10 people were killed across Syria, taking the death toll in the six-month uprising to more than 3,000, not including loyalist members of the security forces who continue to target demonstrators.
Deir Azour in the Kurdish north was a scene of violent clashes between security forces and defectors who had been urged to swap sides by thousands of chanting activists.
In recent weeks a largely passive rights movement inside Syria has taken on a more militant tone, with activists openly seeking weapons and soldiers who have fled the army battling with their former colleagues. The Syrian government says around 1,100 security officers have been killed.
On Thursday, at least 36 people were killed nationwide.