Syrian general defects to Turkey with troops
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Syrian general defects to Turkey with troops

33 military men and their families cross the border overnight

Free Syrian Army members raise their weapons during a training session on the outskirts of Idlib, Syria, Thursday, June 7, 2012 (photo credit: AP/Khalil Hamra)
Free Syrian Army members raise their weapons during a training session on the outskirts of Idlib, Syria, Thursday, June 7, 2012 (photo credit: AP/Khalil Hamra)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s state-run news agency said 33 more members of the Syrian military have defected to Turkey with their families at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries over Syria’s downing of a Turkish plane.

The Anadolu Agency said Monday that the group, which includes a general and two colonels, crossed into Turkey overnight. They were being hosted at a refugee camp near the border.

There was no further information on the group.

Thousands of soldiers have abandoned the regime, but most are low-level conscripts. The Free Syria Army — the loosely linked group of rebel forces — is made up largely of defectors.

Defectors affiliated with the Free Syrian Army and based in Turkey are known to collect food and other supplies to deliver to comrades on smuggling routes.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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