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Syria military police chief defects to opposition

Published on Dec 26, 2012 9:54 PM
 
General Abdel Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, the head of Syria's military police, speaks in a video uploaded on a social media website on Dec 26, 2012. Shallal has defected from the army and declared allegiance to the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to a video and a Syrian security source. The high-level defection, while not a strategically significant development in the 21-month-old conflict, will be a blow to morale for Assad's forces, which are hitting back at a string of rebel advances across the country. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIRUT (AFP) - Syria's military police chief has announced his defection from President Bashar al-Assad's regime, accusing the army of having turned into "murderous gangs," in a video posted online.

"I, General Abdel Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, commander of Syrian military police, announce that I am defecting from the regime army, to join the people's revolution," the military-clad officer said.

"The army has deviated from its essential mission, which is to protect the country, and it has morphed into murderous, destructive gangs," Shallal charged in the video circulated by opposition activists on Wednesday.

"The destruction of cities and villages, and the commission of massacres against our people, defenceless civilians, who took to the streets calling for freedom" prompted Shallal to defect, he said.

 
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