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article imageSyria: General and 20 soldiers defect

By Paul Iddon     Mar 16, 2013 in World
According to Syrian opposition activists a brigadier general of the Syrian Army along with around 20 soldiers have defected.
The Brigadier General in question is a man named Mohammed Khalouf who was shown dressed in his military uniform in a video broadcast by the Al Arabiya news station where he stated the following, "It is not possible for anyone to accept any of the ideas of this regime unless they have achieved special interests." (Al Arabiya, March 16 2013)
None of his comments or talk of his defection has been commented on in the official Syrian state media, which is essentially the mouthpiece for the regime.
The 20 soldiers who were said to defect did so in central Syria. There they fled their posts and joined embattled rebels not far from the ancient desert city of Palmyra. They reportedly, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, fled to farmlands near that city, which was site of artillery barrages and gun fights for the past days.
This fighting is now ubiquitous in Syria with essentially the whole country a war zone. Human Rights Watch has recently stated that cluster munitions have been used in several locations across the country within the past six months. Such indiscriminate munitions used in civilian areas leaves little surprise that this conflict has left at least 70,000 Syrians dead, displaced over two millions, rendering many homeless and destitute, and made one million into refugees in neighboring countries.
Steve Goose of Human Rights Watch commented on this issue and gave one more cause for concern and cynicism when he explained that, "The initial [death] toll is only the beginning because cluster munitions often leave unexploded bomblets that kill and maim long afterward." (Reuters, March 16 2013)
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