High-Ranking Syrian General Defects

In the latest sign of momentum shifting against embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the highest-ranking military officer yet has abandoned the regime in a publicly broadcast address. In a video that ran on Al Arabiya, Maj. Gen. Abdul Azia Jassem al-Shallal said he was defecting because of the Syrian military has deviated from “its fundamental mission to protect the nation and transformation into gangs of killing and destruction.” It is believed that Shallal made the video near the Turkish-Syrian border, and that he is now seeking refuge in Turkey alongside other defectors. The announcement comes as insurgents continue to make territorial gains against Assad’s regime in northern and central parts of the country.