Last updated: 5 August, 2012

Syrian intelligence officers defect to Jordan, says rebel spokesman

Three Syrian intelligence officers have defected from the Damascus regime and sought refuge in neighbouring Jordan, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army said on Sunday.

“Colonel Yarab al-Shara, his brother Mohammed Kanaan al-Shara and Colonel Yasser Ali Hajj, who worked in political intelligence in Damascus, have defected and are in Jordan,” Kassem Saadeddine told AFP.

Colonel Shara was head of the information department of the intelligence unit located in the capital.

The Shara brothers are from the same clan as Syria’s Sunni Muslim vice president, Faruq al-Shara.

The government of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family are from the Alawite sect of Shiite Islam, has yet to confirm or deny the report.

Many soldiers of various ranks have deserted from the Assad regime since the start of an uprising in March 2011, some of them forming the Free Syrian Army.