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MIDEAST > Syrian opposition: defections rise

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SNC Turkey representative Khaled Khoja claims rise in army defections.

SNC Turkey representative Khaled Khoja claims rise in army defections.

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

Defections from the Syrian army have increased dramatically in the last two days, after the Syrian troops were ordered to start a crackdown on the suburban areas east and north of Damascus, Syrian opposition claimed. 

”Many soldiers, including high-ranking army officials have defected from the army and joined the Free Syrian Army (FSA) during the latest crackdown, because they didn’t want to kill their own people,” the biggest umbrella organization of Syrian dissidents, the Syrian National Council’s (SNC), Turkey representative Khaled Khoja told to Hürriyet Daily News Jan. 30. 

Khoja claimed there were two generals amongst the latest army defectors. Khaled Khoja said more than 80 people died and dozens of them were injured in the deadly crackdown organized by the Syrian army on Jan. 29 and 30. 

“They have used armored vehicles and artillery to beat back rebels in the suburbs of Damascus. Street battles are still continuing,” Khoja said. 

Khoja said the military operations in the last two days have been conducted by the Syrian army rather than the infamous 4th Brigade and this caused the number of defectors to be increased. 

“There are many Sunni soldiers in the Syrian army, they don’t want to kill the people in the Sunni neighborhoods,” Khoja added.

January/31/2012

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