Syria Crisis: Military police chief defects to rebels

Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Damascus: Syria's military police chief has announced his defection from President Bashar al-Assad's regime accusing the army of having turned into "murderous gangs," in a video posted online.

Major General Abdul Aziz Jassem al-Shallal who has reportedly fled to Turkey appeared in a video aired late on December 25 by Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV, saying he is joining "the people's revolution.

''I have defected because of the deviation of the army from its primary duty of protecting the country and its transformation into gangs of killing and destruction, the destruction of cities and villages, and committing massacres against our unarmed people who went out to demand liberty," al-Shallal said. "Long live Syria free and strong."

Dozens of generals have defected since Syria's uprising began in March 2011. Shallal, a Sunni Muslim, is one of the most senior among them and held a top post at the time he apparently fled Syria.

Meanwhile, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on December 25 that more than 1,000 people have been killed in Syria during the past week -- raising the overall death toll since the uprising began to more than 45,000 people.
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