Syrian General, Troops Defect to Turkey

Turkey Touts Defections as Syria Loses 14th General

by Jason Ditz, July 03, 2012

A group of 293 Syrians, mostly women and children fleeing the civil war, arrived in Turkey’s Reyhanli today. The group included dozens of Syrian soldiers as well, including a general and several other officers.

The general, who has yet to be identified, is the second general to leave the country for Turkey in less than two weeks, and the 14th overall since the civil war began. Turkish officials touted the news, saying that the defections are becoming more organized.

The Syrian National Council, the self-proclaimed rebel leadership, also cheered the defections, saying they proved that the regime is “dissolving” and had lost all support internally. Most of the troops defecting to Turkey have joined the Free Syrian Army, a rebel force openly backed by Turkey.

Tensions between Turkey and Syria have continued to rise in recent days, with Turkey once again reporting today that it scrambled fighter jets on claims Syrian helicopters were “close” to their border.

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