Top Syrian general defects to Jordan

AFP-JIJI

The Syrian Army’s logistics chief, Gen. Mohammed Ezz al-Din Khalouf, has defected, activists said Saturday in a YouTube video posted on the Internet.

The video, which could not be independently verified, shows a man with white hair in civilian clothes getting into a car and a voice off-screen naming him as Gen. Mohammed Khalouf, head of logistics.

The man speaking in the video says that Khalouf and his family had defected and were being escorted out of Syria on Friday.

Al-Arabiya television reported that Khalouf defected along with his son, Capt. Ezz al-Din Khalouf, who headed a reconnaissance unit for the Syrian Army. The Dubai-based news channel also aired part of an interview with the general in which he said he had planned his defection with units of the “Syrian revolution” — insurgents fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Activists said they waited before reporting the defection to ensure that Khalouf and his family had crossed safely into neighboring Jordan.