BEIRUT – A Syrian general was among the latest defectors from the Syrian military, officials said Monday, after dozens of Syrian soldiers fled overnight to Turkey, crossing the border with their families.
The general defected in recent days, Turkish officials said. Then, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency, 33 soldiers crossed the border overnight, including a second general and two colonels.
But a Turkish government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government rules, said the group included three colonels, and there was no general.
The two accounts could not immediately be reconciled.
Thousands of soldiers have abandoned the Syrian regime, but most are low-level conscripts. The rebel Free Syrian Army – which is based in Turkey – is made up largely of defectors.
Anadolu said a total of 224 people crossed into Turkey overnight, the latest blow to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.