YAYLADAGI, Turkey - A Syrian general from an engineering division defected to the opposition rebels and fled to Turkey on Wednesday, bringing the number of such top ranking officers given refuge on Turkish soil to 16, Free Syrian Army officials said.

Turkey now hosts some 250 officers who have defected to the FSA in its southern Hatay province and helps them with logistical support, though Ankara denies providing them weapons.

The FSA officials, who declined to be named, said the number of officers defecting was rising daily as it became harder for them to avoid involvement in the conflict and due to their reluctance to be involved in the shelling of towns and villages.

Tension has risen between Turkey and Syria since Syrian forces shot down a Turkish reconnaissance jet over the Mediterranean on June 22.

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