Syrians board a boat that will take them across the river to Turkey near the Syrian town of Darkush on December 13, 2012
Syrians board a boat that will take them across the Orontes river to Turkey near the northern Syrian town of Darkush on December 13, 2012. A group of some 20 Syrian soldiers including a general defected from the army Tuesday and fled to Turkey, joining hundreds of other ex-troops from Syria's military, a Turkish diplomat told AFP. © Odd Andersen - AFP
Syrians board a boat that will take them across the river to Turkey near the Syrian town of Darkush on December 13, 2012
AFP
Last updated: January 1, 2013

Syrian troops and general defect to Turkey

A group of some 20 Syrian soldiers including a general defected from the army Tuesday and fled to Turkey, joining hundreds of other ex-troops from Syria's military, a Turkish diplomat told AFP.

"The soldiers who fled to Turkey include a general, three colonels and several other officers," the source said on condition of anonymity.

Some 40 people, including defectors and family members, crossed the border into the southern Turkish province of Hatay. They were taken to the Apaydin refugee camp, which holds all Syria's defected soldiers, Turkey's state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

Since the start of the civil war between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and rebel forces, dozens of senior army officers including some 40 generals have defected and headed to Turkey.

Turkish authorities have refused to give the exact number of Syrian defectors, who typically join the anti-Assad Free Syrian Army.

Turkey, which supports the insurgency, is housing a total of some 150,000 Syrian refugees at camps near the border.

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