Report: Rebel Syrian army colonel takes refuge in Turkey

By REUTERS
October 4, 2011 15:28

ANKARA - The highest-ranking officer to defect from the Syrian military said on Tuesday he had taken refuge in Turkey, denying claims that he had been arrested when Syrian government troops overran a rebel stronghold, state-run Anatolian news agency said.

"We live in a safe place in Turkey, I am grateful to the government and people of Turkey. Turkish officials cared about us," Colonel Riad Assad said in a report datelined Hatay in southern Turkey, where some 7,000 Syrians have taken sanctuary to escape a crackdown on protesters demanding an end to President Bashar Assad's rule.


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