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Officials: Syrian army stable despite defections

(AP) WASHINGTON - U.S. officials say Syria's military remains loyal despite recent high-profile defections, while the opposition remains fragmented and unable to attack as a unified force, indicating a long, protracted conflict to come.

The Syrian regime is maintaining troop loyalty by keeping paychecks coming even as food and fuel run out for the rest of the country, according to U.S. intelligence officials who briefed reporters on the Syrian conflict Tuesday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to provide the sensitive information.

The regime has also used militias to attack Sunni neighborhoods instead of involving the mostly Sunni army, they said.

Officials say the opposition has learned effective guerilla-like tactics, but is still too disorganized to hold territory, which will likely produce a continuing "seesaw" battle between the two sides.

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