As far as I am concerned this is a lie or extremely distorted message produced by the Assad regime. Until this is independently confirmed one way or the other I will assume it is a lie or extremely distorted. I feel it is more likely the Assad regime itself murdered them and is now blaming the protesters. That is what one local resident of Jisr al-Shughour told the BBC:
But opposition websites insisted that their protests had been peaceful, and they scorned the government's talk of armed gangs. A Jisr al-Shughour resident told BBC Arabic that the protesters did not have any weapons and blamed the authorities for Monday's deaths. "The soldiers were coming our way, then they were shot in the back by some Syrian security elements," Abu Nadir said....
Others said that members of the armed forces had changed sides and joined the protests. Some also said the town had been relatively calm until a mutiny at the security headquarters, where so many deaths were reported. "I think they executed policemen who refused to open fire on demonstrators. There was a mutiny in the security service," one told the AFP news agency.
This is an excuse for the murderous and devious Assad regime to continue their reckless murders and tortures and their frightfulness that have already claimed more than 1100 precious lives of peaceful protesters, more than the uprising in Egypt.
I have read about how dictatorships operate. I remember reading in Berlin Diary how British Prime Minister Chamberlain was impressed by the crowds welcoming him on his visit to Germany. Safire wryly commented that he did not know that those crowds are organized by the ruling party.
Already I have heard of rumors that people are paid by the Syrian dictatorship to lie and claim to see atrocities committed by alleged armed gangs that did not happen.
I will admit for a little while I thought Bashar al-Assad would murder his oppressed victims into submission and win, but recently I now feel he will fall. And it cannot come too soon.