Another Syrian general defects to Turkey


Another general has fled Syria and joined rebels camped in southeastern Turkey with plans to confront the Damascus regime, the Anatolia news agency reported Saturday.

His identity was not disclosed for security reasons.

The defection brought to 10 the number of generals seeking refuge in Turkey since the revolt against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime erupted 16 months ago.

The general crossed into Turkey with his family and was taken to Apaydin camp, a defectors’ settlement in Hatay province, some four kilometers from the border with Syria.

The refugee camps in the southeastern provinces of Hatay, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa and Kilis shelter nearly 31,000 Syrians, a number that surged after a recent escalation of violence in Syria, particularly in northwestern towns near the Turkish border.

Monitoring groups say at least 14,400 people have been killed in the 16-month uprising against the Assad regime, as UN officials say they fear a full-blown civil war in Syria.

Turkey, once a close ally of Syria, has been at the forefront of international criticism of the deadly crackdown on protestors and has become the main haven for opposition groups and rebel fighters.