At least 600 army defectors from President Bashar al-Assad's hometown of Qardaha were among a leaked list of 21,000 defectors wanted by the Syrian government.
Unconfirmed figures claim around 100,000 soldiers and militants loyal to President Assad have been killed in the four-year armed conflict.
The record number of defectors is considered by many to be reflective of the mounting outrage within Assad’s fellow Alawite sect, namely within his hometown of Qardaha.
More than 3,000 fighters from Qardaha have been killed since the conflict began, activists say.
Qardaha, the traditional home of the Assad family, which has ruled Syria since 1970, was a main supplier of shabeeha militia. The mountain village overlooking the coastal town of Lattakia is considered by many to be the final bulwark of Assad's family.
Activists claim Assad’s primary mission is now to rebuild trust amongst his followers, but a number of Alawite social media activists have issued calls for a new man to protect them.