A member of Syria's parliament says he has left the country to join the opposition against President Bashar Assad's regime.
Imad Ghalioun, who represents the central city of Homs, told Al-Arabiya TV the restive city is "disaster stricken" and has been subjected to sweeping human rights violations.
Homs has been one of the most volatile regions in Syria since the uprising against Assad began in March.
Dozens of Syrian prisoners were released Monday, a day after the country's president announced an amnesty for crimes committed during the 10-month uprising.
At the Adra prison north of Damascus, prisoners were intermittently released out a side door. However, few of the newly freed individuals were willing to talk, out of fear it would land them right back behind bars, CBC's Margaret Evans reported.
One man in his 20s agreed to speak to reporters. Shivering without a jacket, he said he was arrested for attending an anti-government protest and jailed for two months.
"It is unfair to be put in jail for protesting," he said in Arabic, describing his treatment as "very cruel."
No one inside in the prison is not tortured, he said.
Another man said he was jailed for being in contact with the Syrian exile community abroad via Facebook. After he spotted a few prison guards listening in to his conversation with members of the media, he stopped talking.
"The people of Homs are under siege and the city is disaster-stricken," he said late Sunday from Egypt. "There is no electricity, piles of garbage fill the streets … The sounds of shelling all night terrify children."
The United Nations says about 400 people have been killed in the last three weeks, on top of an earlier estimate of more than 5,000 killed since March.
Ghalioun said he was able to leave Syria before a travel ban was imposed on officials.
He said there are many legislators who support the uprising but have not said so publicly.
In another development meant to pressure Assad into stopping the crackdown by Syrian troops, Tunisia cautiously added its voice Sunday to calls from Qatar for direct intervention to stop the bloodshed.
The foreign minister of Tunisia said in an interview with APTN on Sunday that he would not rule out troops being sent into the country.
'Stop killing your people', Ban Ki-moon says
Also Sunday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon demanded that Syria's president stop killing his own people, indicating the rule of family dynasties is over in the Middle East.
Ban, delivering the keynote address at a conference in Beirut on democracy in the Arab world, said the revolutions of the Arab Spring show people will no longer accept tyranny.
"Today, I say again to President Assad of Syria: Stop the violence. Stop killing your people," Ban said.
Syria agreed last month to an Arab League plan that calls for a halt to the crackdown, the withdrawal of heavy weaponry, such as tanks, from cities, the release of all political prisoners, and allowing foreign journalists and human rights workers in.
About 200 Arab League observers are working in Syria to verify whether the government is abiding by its agreement to end the military crackdown on dissent.