Syria: 4 generals defect to opposition as desertions gather pace

GlobalPost

With the outside world unable to act, perhaps the most likely source for an end to the violence in Syria is within the country itself.

After yesterday’s apparent high-level defection by Deputy Oil Minister Abdo Hussameddin, Reuters reports today that four more Syrian generals have defected from the Syrian armed forces and joined the year-old uprising against the government in Damascus.

More from GlobalPost: Syria's deputy oil minister Abdo Hussameddin announces defection on YouTube (VIDEO)

The men fled over the last three days to a camp in southern Turkey for deserters, Reuters said, citing Lieutenant Khaled al-Hamoud, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army.

With these defections, seven brigadier generals have now switched sides, he said.

"We have six brigadier generals who are now in Turkey and another, who has stayed to lead some battalions inside Syria," Hamoud was quoted as saying. "We plan to form an advisory council to absorb these and any other high-ranking defections and this group will plan operations for the FSA."

Rebels are concerned for the men’s families who have been left behind, Reuters said, citing both Hamoud and Fahad al-Masri, a spokesman in Paris for the Sheikh's Supreme Syrian Military Council. Both men said the family of Brigadier General Faez Amro had been arrested. Amro fled to Turkey last month.

Al-Masri said the names of the latest defectors would not be released to protect their families.

More from GlobalPost: Has Israel's regional isolation helped protect its economy?

Speaking in Cairo today, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, now a UN envoy on the Syrian crisis, cautioned against outside military intervention in Syria, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"We have to be careful that we don't introduce a medicine that is worse than the disease," Annan was quoted as telling reporters at the Arab League's headquarters.

He also made Annan a veiled reference to Iraq.

"We don't have to go very far in the region to find an example of what I am talking about."
 

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.