Middle East

Seven Syrian generals defect to Turkey: report

Free Syrian Army fighters pose near military trucks after they fought and defeated government troops at the airforce base in Salqin city near Idlib November 2, 2012. Picture taken November 2, 2012. REUTERS/Hamam al-Sermeeni/Shaam News Network/Handout

ANKARA: Seven more Syrian army generals defected to Turkey on Tuesday to join opposition fighters as the regime in Damascus renewed air strikes across the country, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Amid tight security, the generals were taken to a camp in the southern border province of Hatay, it said.

Turkish officials refuse to give an exact number of Syrian generals currently on Turkish soil as some are returning to Syria to join the active fighters inside the conflict-wracked country.

Turkey is currently home to nearly 112,000 Syrian refugees registered in several camps along its volatile border, as well as the exiled Syrian opposition's political and military leadership.

Army defectors, flanked by their families, stay in the Apaydin camp in Hatay province where security is tighter.

Turkey fell out with one-time ally Syria after the regime's unleashed a deadly crackdown on protests in March last year, and has joined in Arab and Western calls for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad.





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