This Just In

In what could be one of the highest-level defections from the Syrian government, the country’s military police chief has reportedly left Bashar al-Assad’s forces to join “the people’s revolution.”

In a video posted online this week, a man identified as Maj. Gen. Abdul Aziz Jassim al-Shallal announced his defection and said he was joining the country’s popular uprising.

“The Syrian military has strayed from its core mission in protecting the homeland to become nothing but armed gangs that kill and destroy the cities and the villages, carrying out massacres against our innocent civilian population that came out demanding freedom and dignity,” he said.

Al-Shallal had been plotting his escape to Turkey for weeks with the help of rebels, said Louai Miqdad, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army.

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