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Top defected military officer says Syrian army has turned into a ‘gang’


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Al Arabiya, 25 Dec 2012 - The army of embattled President Bashar al-Assad has turned into a “gang” to kill and terrorize the Syrian people, Abdulaziz Al-Shalal, a top defected major general, told Al Arabiya in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

Major General Al-Shalal, who is considered to be the highest-ranking military officer to this date to leave Assad regime army, said the Syrian people initially took to the streets “peacefully” to ask for their freedom but the regime’s army turned into a “gang” to terrorize and massacre Syrians and destroy their villages and cities.

Speaking from the Turkish-Syrian borders, the high-ranking military officer said that he was planning to defect but was waiting for the right circumstances to do so.

“Definitely, there are other high-ranking officers who want to defect but the situation is not suitable for them to declare defection.”

Strict Assad regime’s monitoring to their movements does not allow them to defect, he added.

The opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) was in control of large swathes of Syrian territories, according to the major general, warning that the Assad army, if further threatened, could use chemical weapons.

While there was no proof that the toxic gases used in aerial bombardment against opposition fighters in the central city of Homs was internationally prohibited, Major General Shalal said they were “chemical weapons.”

Syrian activists couldn’t verify the type of toxic gases used, but they said it was close to the deadly sarin that can cause extreme suffocation, nerve paralysis and temporary blindness.


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