"Amid the latest rounds of killings and destruction, the further ratcheting up of international tensions and Nato's meeting over the shooting down of a Turkish warplane, a development has taken place which will have a significant impact on the course of Syria's civil war.
A group of 224 middle-ranking military officers and their families have followed two brigadier-generals and two colonels in defecting from the Syrian armed forces. Around 35,000 have fled from Syria into Turkey since the rebellion started last year. But this is the first time that there a steady and growing flow of desertions from forces which have hitherto remained loyal to Bashar al-Assad.....
The numbers of ex-servicemen have been rising recently. The public reason given by these men is that they had been forced to fight for the regime and left when they could no longer stand the slaughter of fellow citizens....."