Former civilians have been quickly picking up the tactics that will make them a formidable military force. Luke Harding reports.
Syrian troops have killed four students and arrested some 200 after storming an anti-regime protest at Aleppo University, in the north of the country.
Rebels have killed more than 20 troops in the Syrian army's deadliest day of a ceasefire deal even as UN observers say they have a "calming" impact.
US President Barack Obama has given the nod to tighten sanctions against Syria and Iran by going after foreign firms violating existing measures.
Violence has erupted in two Syrian provinces with reports of 10 civilians dead in an army mortar attack and 12 soldiers killed in clashes with rebels.
Nine people are dead and 100 wounded in bomb blasts near Syrian security service buildings as a bombing battle intensifies against government targets.
Tens of thousands have protested across Syria as a suicide bombing rocked the capital, killing 11 people fuelling scepticism over a UN peace plan.
Kofi Annan's peace plan has thrown up suspicions with a briefing to the Security Council suggesting a painful, open-ended process.
South Africans, along with the rest of Africa, have to demand political inclusivity if we hope to keep growing, says Richard Poplak.
Cellphone giant MTN has sought advice in the wake of sanctions by the United States against companies that aid human rights abuses.
Syrian President Bashar Assad's opponents appear to be resorting to assassinations of loyalist military officers in an escalation of their campaign.
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has urged Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's regime to protect the 300 ceasefire monitors due in Syria next week.
The UN hopes to get permission from the Syrian government to send more aid workers to help at least 1-million people in need of urgent assistance.
Kofi Annan's deputy has told the Security Council that the swift deployment of observers to Syria is needed despite risks and persistent violence.
International monitors say conflicts, including the uprisings in the Arab world, last year forced 3.5-million people to flee within their country.
Syria has challenged the UN chief over the scope of a UN truce monitoring mission, resisting a larger presence as its army shelled targets in Homs.
A team of United Nations monitors have begun work in Syria, seeking to ensure both state forces and the opposition repect the terms of their truce.
Efforts to build on a Syrian ceasefire are accelerating with plans to deploy UN observers being drawn up to keep up pressure on Bashar al-Assad.
Strife-torn Syria has remained calm in the first few hours after a ceasefire brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan came into force this morning.
Syria has promised Kofi Annan it will stop all fighting by the dawn deadline, but has a right to respond to attacks by "armed terrorist groups".