High-ranking Syrian general defects from army, reveals plunging morale

BEIRUT (AP) - A high-ranking general in the Syrian army has defected with the help of rebel fighters.

Major General Mohammed Ezz al-Din Khalouf said in an interview on Saturday with Al-Arabiya TV that he left the regime and that morale inside the armed forces was bad.

Activist videos posted online show Maj-Gen Khalouf sitting with a rebel fighter after his defection and riding in a car to what the video said was the Jordanian border.

The videos appear authentic and are consistent with other reporting by The Associated Press.

While widespread defections from the Syrian army have sapped it of much of its manpower during the two-year-old anti-Assad uprising, high-level defections have been rare.

The United Nations says more than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

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