Opposition: Syrian Brigadier-general Defects

Published January 14, 2012 11:27AM (EST)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An opposition group says a Syrian brigadier-general has escaped to Turkey, becoming the highest-ranking officer to defect.

Mahmud Osman, a member of the Syrian National Council said Saturday that Mostafa Ahmad al-Sheik, the deputy commander in charge of Syria's northern army, fled to Turkey two weeks ago.

Osman said al-Sheik was staying at a camp near Turkey's border with Syria together with other members of the Free Syrian Army, a group of army defectors who switched sides to try to topple President Bashar Assad.

The group's leader, Col. Riad al-Asaad claims there are thousands of former soldiers in his ranks. It is impossible to verify independently how many defectors are fighting the regime.

Thousands of people have been killed in the 10-month-old revolt against Assad.

By Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------