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article imageHigh-ranking Syrian military personnel defect to Turkey

By Paul Iddon     Jun 25, 2012 in Politics
A Syrian general, two colonels and about 30 soldiers have defected to neighbouring Turkey as tensions between the two countries remain high.
According to BBC News, Khaleej Times and International Business Times UK the group of defectors entered Turkey late at night on Sunday and were subsequently taken to Apaydin camp in the Hatay province near the Turkish-Syrian border.
This follows more than 33,000 Syrian civilians who have fled to Turkey since the uprising against Syrian President Assad began in March of 2011. Turkey claims that 12 generals of the Syrian Army have already defected.
This defection represents the biggest single group of defectors to cross the border since the 15-month-long uprising began
Several members of the Syrian armed forces have defected to opposition groups within Syria that are fighting against Assad.
Last week a Syrian MiG-21 pilot defected to Jordan by flying his jet over the border and seeking political asylum which he was granted.
Relations between Syria and Turkey remain tense, particularly over the last week following the downing of a Turkish F-4 Phantom II jet fighter by Syrian air defences. The Turkish government claim the jet was over international waters and not within Syrian air space as the Syrians have consistently claimed.
Turkey is openly supporting the Free Syrian Army whose primary goal is the overthrow of the Bashar al-Assad regime.
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