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Syrian army officers defect to Turkey

Nov. 9, 2012 at 11:37 AM

BUKULMEZ, Turkey, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Seventy-one Syrians, including members of the Syrian army, crossed into Turkey early Friday amid increasing clashes in northern Syria, officials said.

Among the refugees were two generals, 11 colonels, two lieutenant colonels, two majors, four captains and five sergeants, as well as rank-and-file soldiers, Today's Zaman reported.

They entered Turkey through the border village of Bukulmez in the Reyhanli district of Hatay province.

The generals and army officers were taken to Hatay's Apaydin camp, where defected army officers are being sheltered.

The latest defections bring the total number of Syrian generals in Turkey to 44.

About 165,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Turkey since the beginning of the now 20-month-old conflict in Syria.

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