ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Turkish official said a Syrian brigadier general who was deputy chief of police in Syria’s Latakia region, has defected to Turkey.

The official said on Monday the general was among a group of 12 Syrian officers who crossed into Turkey late Sunday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of Turkish government rules.

The brigadier general’s defection raised the number of generals to have defected and crossed into Turkey since the start of the 17-month-old uprising to 28.

Turkey’s is hosting some 43,500 refugees in camps along the 911-kilometer (566-mile) border. The Turkish territory is also a staging ground for rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.