High-ranking Syrian military officials defect to Turkey


A number of high-ranking figures within the Syria military are reported to have defected to Turkey.

Reports in Turkish media claim that a general, two colonels, two majors and around 30 soldiers formed part of a group of around 200 Syrians that crossed the border into Hatay province on Sunday night.

The defections come amid increased tensions between the two nations following the shooting down of a Turkish F-4 jet on 21 June, the same day a Syrian Air Force pilot was granted political asylum in Jordan after defecting with his aircraft.

"The defections come amid increased tensions between the two nations following the shooting down of a Turkish F-4 jet on 21 June.''

Whilst Turkey insists that the aircraft was in international airspace when it was shot down, Syria have counterclaimed that the jet encroached into its own airspace before it was fired upon.

Turkey has invoked Article 4 of Nato's charter, requesting a consultation with other Nato members to discuss the attack. Nato ambassadors are due to meet in Brussels today to consider their response.

Turkey has continued to pledge support to the opposition Free Syria Army, largely made up of defectors, as well as welcoming more than 33,000 people who have fled the conflict since it began in March 2011.