Syrian general defects
One of the highest-ranking military officers yet to abandon Syrian President Bashar Assad defected to neighboring Jordan and said in an interview aired on Saturday that morale among those still inside the regime has collapsed.
In another setback for the Assad regime, a leading human rights group accused Syria's government of stepping up its use of widely banned cluster munitions, which often kill and wound civilians.
The twin blows illustrated the slowly spreading cracks appearing in Assad's regime as well as its deepening international isolation. While few analysts expect the civil war between Assad's forces and rebels seeking his ouster to end soon, most say it appears impossible for the 4-decade-old regime to continue to rule Syria.
Maj. Gen. Mohammed Ezz al-Din Khalouf announced his defection from Assad's regime in a video aired on Saturday on the Al-Arabiya satellite channel. It showed him sitting next to his son, Capt. Ezz al-Din Khalouf, who defected with him.
The elder Khalouf said that many of those with Assad's regime have lost faith in it, yet continue to do their jobs, allowing Assad to demonstrate broad support.
“It's not an issue of belief or practicing one's role,” he said. “It's for appearance's sake, for the regime to present an image to the international community that it pulls together all parts of Syrian society under this regime.”
Khalouf also said fighters from the Lebanese military group Hezbollah were fighting in Syria in “more than one place,” but he did not give further details.
The Syrian government did not immediately comment on the defection. It portrays the uprising as a foreign-backed conspiracy to weaken Syria being carried out by terrorists on the ground.
Seif al-Hourani, an activist from one of the rebel groups that helped get Khalouf and his family out of the country, said via Skype that Khalouf's son made contact with rebels about six months ago and leaked them information before he asked for help in getting the family out of Syria.
That process took almost a week because of violence in the southern province of Daraa, the easiest place to shuttle Khalouf across the border.
Six days ago, rebels smuggled Khalouf, his wife and three of their children out of Damascus, the capital.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kurdish forces fight back, but new strategy could hinder resistance
- Divide between mainstream French, poor Muslims evident in terror reaction
- Civilians killed in fighting in separatist-held Donetsk, Ukraine
- ‘A chink in’ jihadi ‘armor’
- More than 30 Filipino police commandos killed in clash with rebels
- 3 American contractors killed in apparent Afghan ‘insider attack’
- Deadly attacks pinned on ISIS
- Have another baby, Chinese officials coax couples
- Parole granted to leader of apartheid death squad
- Ukraine: Phone calls prove Russia-backed rebels attacked Mariupol, killed 30
- Islamic State group pushed out of Syria’s Kobani