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Syria: military chief defects to opposition


Syria

Syria: military chief defects to opposition

The chief of the Syrian military police has defected to the rebels.

Major-General Abdulaziz Jassim al-Shalal has reportedly accused President Bashar al-Assad’s regime of using chemical weapons during an attack on Monday.

Speaking from Turkey, he also warned that the army was transforming into gangs of murder and destruction.

His defection has been confirmed by Damascus.

Meanwhile, Syrian activists have uploaded a video from the northeastern Raqqa province, which purportedly shows rows of blood-stained bodies from the latest government shelling.

Activists say at least 20 people were killed, including women and children. We’re unable to independently verify the footage.

Following Monday’s meeting between Assad and international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, a senior Syrian diplomat has been dispatched to Moscow.

Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Makdad is said to be seeking Russian advice on a possible power handover.

Brahimi will hold his own talks in Moscow on Saturday.

Russia is still keen to avoid explicit demands that Assad step down. But the Syrian opposition insists the president must go.

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