DUBAI - A Syrian military official has defected in protest at a government crackdown on months of demonstrations against President Bashar Assad's rule, footage on Al Jazeera English's website showed on Saturday.
Flanked by soldiers brandishing rifles, a man named by Al Jazeera as Colonel Afeef Mahmoud Suleiman read out a statement saying they were defecting after witnessing acts of violence by the army on protesters.
"We soldiers have defected from this army after watching the military and security forces killing protesting civilians with all kinds of weapons," said Suleiman, whom Al Jazeera said was from the army's air force logistics division in the city of Hama.
Al Jazeera reported that up to 50 soldiers had defected along with Suleiman. Thirteen men dressed in camouflage could be seen standing behind him in the video.