BEIRUT - A cousin of Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Shara has defected, Al-Arabiya television reported on Thursday, broadcasting a statement in which he called on members of the Syrian army to join the "revolution".

"The cousin of the Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Shara announces his defection in an exclusive recording via Al-Arabiya," the news anchor read after the broadcast. It identified the speaker as Yarab al-Shara.

During the broadcast Al Arabiya had scrolled a headline bar declaring that "Shara" had defected.

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