Activists: Secret police defect in restive Syrian province

By REUTERS
December 4, 2011 13:39

 
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AMMAN - At least a dozen Syrian secret police have defected from an intelligence compound in a restive province near Turkey, the first major defection reported within the security apparatus leading the crackdown on protesters, activists said on Sunday.

A gunfight broke out overnight after the defectors fled the Airforce Intelligence complex in the center of Idlib city, 280 kms (175 miles) northwest of Damascus, and ten people on both sides were killed or wounded, they said.

Opposition sources estimate the number of defectors from the security forces at several thousand, mainly army recruits from Syria's Sunni Muslim majority. President Bashar Assad's Alawite minority sect has a tight grip on the country's military and security apparatus.

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