News / Middle East

    Top Syrian Official Defects

    General Abdelaziz Jassim al-Shalal, the head of Syria's military police, speaks in a video uploaded on a social media website, December 26, 2012.
    General Abdelaziz Jassim al-Shalal, the head of Syria's military police, speaks in a video uploaded on a social media website, December 26, 2012.
    VOA News
    A top Syrian military official who headed the feared military police has told a pan-Arab TV station that he defected and joined Syria's opposition movement.

    A video published on a social media website on Wednesday shows the general, Abdul-Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, saying that he left the government because the Syrian military police have strayed from their primary mission.

    "In the name of God E., I am General Abdul-Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, head of the military police.  I have defected because of the deviation of the army from its primary duty of protecting the country and its transformation into gangs of killing and destruction, the destruction of cities and villages and committing massacres against our unarmed people who went out to demand liberty," he explained. "Long live Syria free and strong."

    High-Profile Defectors from Syria

    • Prime Minister Riad Hijab defected to Jordan on August 6, two months after taking top post.
    • Nawaf Fares, Syria's ambassador to Iraq became first Syrian envoy to defect on July 11, 2012.
    • Brigadier General Manaf Tlass, highest ranking military officer to abandon Syrian government on July 6, 2012.
    • Colonel Hassan Hammadeh flew his MiG-21 warplane to neighboring Jordan during a June, 2012, training mission and was granted asylum.
    • Imad Ghalioun, member of Syria’s parliament, left country in January, 2012, to join opposition.
    • Adnan Bakkour, former attorney general of Hama, appeared in video in late August 2011 announcing he had defected.
    Al-Shallal is one of dozens of generals who have defected since Syria's crisis began 22 months ago. He is one of the most senior to flee since Manaf Tlass, a Syrian general and a member of the ruling inner circle, defected in July.

    The defection comes amid continued diplomacy to end the Syrian crisis.

    Peace overtures

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reportedly sent a senior diplomat to ally Moscow on Wednesday to discuss proposals made by peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, right, meets with UN Arab League deputy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus, Syria, Dec. 24, 2012.In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, right, meets with UN Arab League deputy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus, Syria, Dec. 24, 2012.
    x
    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, right, meets with UN Arab League deputy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus, Syria, Dec. 24, 2012.
    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, right, meets with UN Arab League deputy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus, Syria, Dec. 24, 2012.
    Brahimi, who met with Assad on Monday, is expected to arrive in Moscow on Saturday for further talks with Russian leaders. Russian envoys are reportedly trying to broker a peaceful  transition of power in Syria.

    Opposition leaders and Western supporters are demanding Assad leave office without conditions. 

    Renewed violence

    Meanwhile, Syrian opposition activists say government shelling in a northern province near the Turkish border has left at least 20 people dead, including eight children.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights released a video on Wednesday showing what it said were victims of a government assault on a village in the Raqqa region.

    It was not immediately clear when the assault took place. In recent weeks, violence has escalated in the region.

    There was no immediate confirmation from the government, which has blamed much of the violence from almost two years of anti-government unrest on terrorists and armed gangs.

    Rebel advances

    On Tuesday, Syrian rights activists said rebels had captured a northern town near the border with Turkey, driving out government troops after a siege that lasted several weeks.

    The activists said the rebels seized the last military base in the Idlib provincial town of Harem early Tuesday, extending rebel control over northern areas adjacent to Turkey.  

    • A child uses a megaphone to lead others in chanting Free Syrian Army slogans during a demonstration in Bustan Al-Qasr, Aleppo, Syria, January 4, 2013.
    • Demonstrators step on a picture of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during a protest against his regime in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr district, January 4, 2013.
    • Damaged buildings and shops with members of the Syrian army patrolling in the distance in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
    • Men stand amidst wreckage and debris after a car bomb exploded at a crowded gas station in Barzeh al-Balad district in Damascus, in this handout photograph released by SANA on January 3, 2013.
    • A father reacts after the death of two of his children whom activists said were killed by shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters stand near a fire after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
    • Residents wear masks as they search for bodies after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013
    • Members of the Free Syrian Army stand behind a machine gun turret with a flag reading "There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger" in Aleppo's Bustan Al Qaser district, Syria, January 2, 2013.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter asks a child to move away from his house's window as a security measure in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr district December 30, 2012.
    • A boy watches men dig graves for future casualties of Syria's civil conflict at Sheikh Saeed cemetery in Azaz city, December 30, 2012.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    December 27, 2012 6:49 PM
    This guy is the epitome of traitor.

    by: Brian
    December 27, 2012 12:40 AM
    Anyone defecting now is probably trying to save their self and just want to be on the winning team.

    by: Leo from: US
    December 26, 2012 11:03 PM
    "In the name of God E." ? What is the E for? Some sort of code?

    by: HPB from: Florida
    December 26, 2012 10:23 PM
    Assad will, it seems, eventually fall. But we have no evidence that a humane government will replace him. I just hope the US stays out of this and all rebellions around the world.....since WWII our wars have brought sadness and death to our precious young men, wasted money, and time....look at Korea (a standoff war that was never declared over), Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan...politicians who enter into these wars, admit, about a decade after each war, that they were wrong to make these wars. Stay out of Pakistan too, USA. At most, use special ops., SEALS, drones, and the CIA, not thousands of our precious ordinary citizens. Thank you for hearing me out.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    December 28, 2012 4:31 PM
    War is a terrible thing, but I think Genocide is worse. Nowadays men and women can be less risked and wars can be won so fast and easier. Not to promote war but sometimes a quick one is needed to cease genocide and extinguish militant warlords. Otherwise years of genocide will kill even more people.

    by: don from: sw idaho
    December 26, 2012 8:47 PM
    he must be of Italian descent

    by: Anonymous
    December 26, 2012 7:44 PM
    why just this guys don't sit down and talk

    by: Sunny Enwerem
    December 26, 2012 4:05 PM
    Assad days are numbered in seconds.
    In Response

    by: Thooj ying from: Middle East
    December 27, 2012 12:00 AM
    Don't said like that now I am scare, excuse me i don't want die now.
    In Response

    by: Igor from: Russia
    December 26, 2012 10:56 PM
    The only way for Mr.Assad to avoid being murdered is to defect from his own government to join the rebels, which is a mixture of terrorists and extremists. and sing a song of "Democracy". Other wise, he will be only person to blame for anything. How irony it is!

    by: Anonymous
    December 26, 2012 11:23 AM
    Straight from the horses mouth. What he says, really is going on in Syria. The entire country should revolt and go after Bashar Al-Assad.
    In Response

    by: Assad from: Syria
    December 27, 2012 12:03 AM
    I don't want go to the Hell now,

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora