Syrian secret police defect, Arab deadline passes

By REUTERS
December 5, 2011 05:00

 
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BEIRUT - At least a dozen Syrian secret police have defected from an intelligence compound, activists said, in what appeared to be the first major desertion from a service that has acted as a pillar of President Bashar Assad's rule.

A gunfight broke out overnight on Saturday after the defectors fled the Airforce Intelligence complex in the center of Idlib city, 280 km (175 miles) northwest of Damascus.

Ten people on both sides were killed or wounded, the activists said on Sunday.

The defections came as the Arab League once again chided Syria for failing to sign up to a league-backed plan to end the violence in Syrian cities.

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