"Another sign of Syria's deepening crisis is that the state is no longer functioning properly. It is "collapsing in slow motion", in the words of one expert. Security chiefs are concerned about bribes being demanded to release detainees. Half the weapons acquired by rebels are estimated to have been sold by army personnel while customs agents look the other way as shipments come in from Lebanon. Rumours persist of different branches of the secret police shooting at each other on clandestine operations. And officials are said to have been destroying documents recording off-the-book payments authorised by a phone call from the president's palace."
"Many now have first-hand experience of the apparatus of state repression, and describe details of underground cells, beatings and torture. It is common knowledge that Iranian security advisers are on hand with their sinister expertise in communications monitoring and riot policing. Damascus feels, and looks, like Tehran in 2009 during protests over the rigging of the presidential election."