Head of Syrian military police defects

BEIRUT Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:22pm IST

General Abdelaziz Jassim al-Shalal, the head of Syria's military police, speaks in a video uploaded on a social media website December 26, 2012. REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV

General Abdelaziz Jassim al-Shalal, the head of Syria's military police, speaks in a video uploaded on a social media website December 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Social Media Website via Reuters TV

Related Topics

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The head of Syria's military police has defected from the army and declared allegiance to the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to a video and a Syrian security source.

The high-level defection, while not a strategically significant development in the 21-month-old conflict, will be a blow to morale for Assad's forces, which are hitting back at a string of rebel advances across the country.

"I am General Abdelaziz Jassim al-Shalal, head of the military police. I have defected because of the deviation of the army from its primary duty of protecting the country and its transformation into gangs of killing and destruction," the officer said in a video published on YouTube.

A Syrian security source confirmed the defection but played down its significance.

"Shalal did defect but he was due to retire in a month and he only defected to play hero," the source said.

Wearing a camouflage uniform with red officer insignia on the shoulder, Shalal spoke from a desk in a room in an undisclosed location. Some rebel sources said he had fled to Turkey. It was not clear when Shalal had changed sides.

"The army has destroyed cities and villages and has committed massacres against an unarmed population that took to the streets to demand freedom," he said. "Long live free Syria."

(Reporting by Erika Solomon; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Korean Boat Tragedy

Family members of a missing passenger onboard the South Korean ferry Sewol which capsized on Wednesday, look at the sea as they wait for news from a rescue team, at a port in Jindo April 19, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Sunken Korea ferry relatives give DNA swabs to help identify dead

Relatives of some of the more than 200 children missing in a sunken South Korean ferry offered DNA swabs on Saturday to help identify the dead as a rescue turned into a mission to recover the vessel and the bodies of those on board.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Everest Tragedy

Everest Tragedy

Death toll climbs in worst tragedy on Everest  Full Article 

Missing Plane

Missing Plane

Current underwater search for Malaysia plane could end within a week  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Putin welcomes new NATO head, says better ties with West possible  Full Article 

Japan Military

Japan Military

Japan expands army footprint for first time in 40 years, risks angering China  Full Article 

Journalists Released

Journalists Released

Kidnapped French journalists found on Turkey's Syrian border   Full Article 

Papal Message

Papal Message

Pope Good Friday service underscores plight of the suffering.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage