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A Foreign Office spokesman said al-Ayoubi was staying in a safe location in the United Kingdom and was in contact with British officials. His departure leaves five staff at the embassy and there has been no indication that they would be leaving their posts as well.
Turkey also reported that the deputy head of security for Syria’s Latakia region, a regime stronghold, had defected as well.
The brigadier general was among a group of 12 Syrian officers who crossed into Turkey late Sunday, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. His defection raised to 28 the number of generals who have left for Turkey since the start of the 17-month-old uprising.
Syria’s army remains mostly intact, however, and still vastly outguns the rebel forces, who are armed for the most part with assault rifles and machine guns and don’t have the heavy weapons necessary to effectively oppose tanks and helicopter gunships.
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