Al Jazeera airs call by defecting Syrian officer

June 7, 2011 13:12

BEIRUT - Al Jazeera aired footage on Tuesday of what it said was a defecting Syrian lieutenant calling on other soldiers to stand up against President Bashar Assad and stop repressing protests against his rule.

The man, who identified himself as First Lieutenant Abdul Razzaq Mohammed Tlas from the town of Rastan in Homs province, said he joined the army "with the aim of protecting the people ... from the Israeli enemy".

"After what we've seen from crimes in Deraa and all over Syria, I am unable to continue with the Syrian Arab army," he said in the footage aired on Al Jazeera television.

Deraa is the southern Syrian city where the uprising against Assad began 11 weeks ago before spreading to other parts of the country. Tlas said he witnessed "violations" in Deraa, including a security officer killing a civilian in the nearby village of Inkhil.

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