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NATO backs Turkey in standoff with Syria
Alliance role » Secretarty-general’s statement a direct warning to Syrian regime.


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Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, reported that Syrian Nation Council leader Abdulbaset Sieda visited rebel-controlled areas in Syria on Tuesday.

It said he entered Syria from the Bab al-Hawa border crossing and "made observations in rural areas" of Idlib province before traveling to Aleppo’s Etarib area where he met with commanders of the Free Syrian Army. If confirmed, the trip would be Sieda’s first into Syria since he became the council’s leader in June.

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Anadolu quoted Sieda as saying: "We are here to see what the opposition in Syria and the opposition outside of Syria can do together to serve the Syrian people."

Sieda made the trip ahead of an Oct. 15-17 meeting of Syrian opposition groups in Qatar.

Meanwhile, two Syrian rebels told The Associated Press that seven military and intelligence officers belonging to Syria’s ruling Alawite minority have defected to Jordan. The rebels said they helped the seven cross into Jordan on Monday, and that the highest-ranking figure among them was an army colonel.

Defections by Alawites, who make up the backbone of Assad’s regime, are relatively uncommon. Almost all the defections have been from Syria’s Sunni majority, who dominate the rebellion.

Three other Alawite intelligence officials came to Jordan three weeks ago, said the two rebels, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from the Assad regime. Jordanian officials declined comment.




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