A high-profile Syrian general with close ties to President Bashar al-Assad and his family has defected, a source close to the Damascus regime told AFP on Friday. "General Munaf Tlass defected three days ago, and he appears to have left Syria," the source said on condition of anonymity.
Tlass is the highest-ranking military officer to have abanonded the Syrian regime.
He is the son of former defence minister Mustafa Tlass, a close friend of Assad's late father and predecessor, Hafez.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius confirmed today Tlas had defected and was bound for Paris.
Tlas, a brigade commander in Syria's Republican Guard who went to military college with Assad, fled to Turkey this week, sources told Reuters.
"I can confirm that he has defected and is on his way to France," Fabius told a meeting of world leaders and Syrian rebels in Paris.
* Compiled from AFP and REUTERS by the Daily News Staff.