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WAR REPORT
Syria military police chief defects to opposition
by Staff Writers
Beirut (AFP) Dec 26, 2012


An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on December 25, 2012, allegedly shows General Abdel Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, commander of the Syrian military police, announcing his defection. Shallal announced his defection from Assad's regime, accusing the army of having turned into "murderous gangs," in a video posted online and circulated by opposition activists. Photo courtesy AFP.

Syria's military police chief has announced his defection from President Bashar al-Assad's regime, accusing the army of having turned into "murderous gangs," in a video posted online.

"I, General Abdel Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, commander of Syrian military police, announce that I am defecting from the regime army, to join the people's revolution," the military-clad officer said.

"The army has deviated from its essential mission, which is to protect the country, and it has morphed into murderous, destructive gangs," Shallal charged in the video circulated by opposition activists on Wednesday.

"The destruction of cities and villages, and the commission of massacres against our people, defenceless civilians, who took to the streets calling for freedom" prompted Shallal to defect, he said.

Shallal, whose functions are limited to disciplining soldiers, is not a well-known figure.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights cited sources close to Shallal as saying he was set to retire in January, and its head Rami Abdel Rahman said he has already left Syria, like many other senior military defectors.

According to reports on online platforms, he left Syria for Turkey.

"This man was pushed to the sidelines a long time ago," one Syrian activist said online, adding that Shallal was "suspected of collaborating with insurgents."

Shallal "withdrew military police checkpoints from the roads, and he was good to people," another activist wrote online.

Syria's defected military police chief in Turkey: report
Ankara (AFP) Dec 26, 2012 - A Syrian military police chief who defected from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is in Turkey, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported on Wednesday.

General Abdel Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, commander of the Syrian military police, crossed into Turkey on Wednesday via the Cilvegozu border crossing in the town of Reyhanli, Anatolia said.

Turkish government officials were not immediately available to confirm the report.

Anatolia said there was no information on where the defector and his family were taken to.

Shallal announced his defection from Assad's regime, accusing the army of having turned into "murderous gangs," in a video posted online and circulated by opposition activists on Wednesday.

"I, General Abdel Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, commander of Syrian military police, announce that I am defecting from the regime army, to join the people's revolution," he said.

Shallal, whose functions are limited to disciplining soldiers, is not a well-known figure.

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