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POLITICS > Chemical weapons used against Syrians, says defected soldier

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News

Turkmen-origin Syrian Air Force Gen Fayez Amro has defected to Turkey while another Syrian defector, Lt Abdulselam Abdulrezzak, claims chemical weapons were used in the Bab Amr neighborhood of Homs

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Members of the Free Syrian Army patrol an area in Idlib in northwestern Syria on Feb 18. Two Syrian lieutenants, who recently defected from the Syrian army, say Syrian soldiers were given gas masks recently in order to protect themselves from the chemical weapons used against the protestors in Syria. AFP photo

Members of the Free Syrian Army patrol an area in Idlib in northwestern Syria on Feb 18. Two Syrian lieutenants, who recently defected from the Syrian army, say Syrian soldiers were given gas masks recently in order to protect themselves from the chemical weapons used against the protestors in Syria. AFP photo

İpek Yezdani İpek Yezdani ipek.yezdani@hurriyet.com.tr


Syrian army used chemical weapons against its own citizens, a defected Syrian soldier claimed.

Defections from the Syrian army continue to increase as a Turkmen-origin general, Fayez Amro, and three other army officials defected to Turkey last week, Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

Amro, from the Bab Amr neighborhood of the restive city of Homs, defected to Turkey last week and has been staying in a Hatay refugee camp where Syrian defector soldiers have been staying. Another intelligence general from the Syrian army defected to Turkey last week. His name has not yet been revealed due to security reasons, Syrian opposition forces said. The Turkish Foreign Ministry was not available to comment on the issue when the Daily News went to print yesterday.

Claims of chemical weapons use

Two Syrian lieutenants who recently defected from the Syrian army talked to Hürriyet Daily News regarding the alleged atrocities in Syria.

Lt. Abdulselam Abdulrezzak, who used to work in the chemical weapons department in the Syrian army and defected to Turkey last week, said chemical weapons were used against civilians during the military offensive of the Syrian security forces in Bab Amr. “BZ-CS, Chlorine Benzilate, which damages people’s nerves and makes them fade away, is being used in Bab Amr. They wanted to also use it in Zabadani [on the Lebanese border] but they made an agreement with the Free Syrian Army forces at the last minute and they backtracked. I couldn’t stand all these and ran away,” Abdulrezzak told the Daily News on Feb. 19.

Showing his military ID in order to prove his post in the Syrian army, Abdulrezzak said Syrian soldiers were given gas masks recently in order to protect themselves from the chemical weapons that would be used against the protestors in Syria. Abdulrezzak said he will join the Free Syrian Army, whose leader, Col. Riad al-Asaad, is based at a camp in a southern province in Turkey, and then return to Syria to fight with rebel forces against the regime.

Ibrahim al-Hajiali, a lieutenant in the Syrian army who escaped to Turkey four months ago, said he had been in prison for one year because of his involvement in the opposition groups.

“My wife was a dentist in the army hospital. However, she was also blacklisted. I fought within the revolutionary forces after prison. Now we both escaped to Turkey. But I continue supporting the revolutionary forces in Syria,” al-Hajiali said.

February/21/2012

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