Syria military police chief defects


Syrian boys run for cover in Aleppo on Oct. 9, 2012.


Zac Baillie

The head of Syria’s military police has defected from President Bashar al-Assad's government. In a video posted on YouTube and circulated by opposition activists, he accused Assad's army of having turned into "murderous gangs," Al Jazeera reported.

"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 former military commander said in the video. "The army has deviated from its essential mission, which is to protect the country, and it has morphed into murderous, destructive gangs."

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Opposition sources claimed that the commander had always been secretly working with the rebels, BBC News reported.

Shallal has fled to Turkey and said there "definitely" are other high-ranking officers in the Syrian government's security forces who want to join him, Radio Free Europe reported.

The defection comes just as Assad has dispatched a senior diplomat to Moscow today, Reuters reported. The diplomat is scheduled to discuss proposals made by envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to end the conflict.