A high-ranking Syrian military official announced defection Tuesday, saying the army has turned into gangs of killing and destruction, Al Arabiya TV reported.
"I am Major General Abdul Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, chief of the military police in Syria, I declare my defection from the regime's army because of its deviation of its fundamental mission to protect the nation and transformation into gangs of killing and destruction," the general said in a video aired by Al Arabiya.
Shalal’s defection came as opposition fighters continued to gain ground in battles against regime forces across the country. On Tuesday and after weeks of fighting, the fighters finally won control of a town near the Turkish border Shallal was speaking from the Turkish-Syrian borders. he said he was planning to defect but was waiting for the right circumstances to do so. “Definitely, there are other high-ranking officers who want to defect but the situation is not suitable for them to declare defection.” Strict Assad regime’s monitoring to their movements does not allow them to defect, he added. The opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) was in control of large swathes of Syrian territories, according to the major general, warning that the Assad army, if further threatened, could use chemical weapons. While there was no proof that the toxic gases used in aerial bombardment against opposition fighters in the central city of Homs was internationally prohibited, Major General Shalal said they were “chemical weapons.” Syrian activists couldn’t verify the type of toxic gases used, but they said it was close to the deadly sarin that can cause extreme suffocation, nerve paralysis and temporary blindness.