A senior Syrian intelligence officer has defected to Jordan, reported Al Arabiya television on Sunday.

Col. Yaraab Shara is the head of the information division for political security, an instrumental group in suppressing the 17-month long uprising in Syria.

Jordanian officials did not immediately confirm whether he had sought asylum or not.

Shara’s is the latest in a string of high-profile defections from President Bashar Assad’s regime. Earlier on Sunday, General Muhammed Ahmed Faris, a high-ranking Syrian Air Force official and decorated astronaut, crossed over to Turkey.

“I am ready to provide assistance to the Free Syrian Army,” Faris was quoted as saying. “We are with you all the way.”

More than 20,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011, according to human rights groups. The UN estimates that 1.5 million Syrians have been displaced within the country.