17 Mar 2013

High-ranking Syrian general reportedly defects

3:07 pm on 17 March 2013

A high-ranking general in the Syrian army says he has defected with the help of rebel fighters.

In an interview with Saudi Arabian-owned Al-Arabiya TV, a man identified as Major General Mohammed Ezz al-Din Khalouf said the move had been planned for some time.

He is said to have reached safety in neighbouring Jordan. The BBC reports there was no comment from the Syrian government.

High-level defections from the Syrian army have been rare during the two-year uprising against president, Bashar al-Assad.

An estimated 70,000 people have been killed and one million have fled Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began two years ago.