Senior Syrian policeman defects: opposition

AMMAN Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:08am EDT

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AMMAN (Reuters) - The deputy police commander for the central Syrian province of Homs has defected to Jordan, an opposition source said on Sunday, further undermining President Bashar al-Assad as he struggles to crush an uprising against his rule.

"Brigadier General Ibrahim al-Jabawi has crossed into Jordan. He will announce his defection on al-Arabiya television later today," an official in the Higher Revolution Council, a activists' organization, told Reuters from Amman.

Jabawi is from Deraa, a rural province where the revolt against Assad erupted 17 months ago before spreading to the rest of the country.

Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab defected to Jordan last week, the highest-ranking Syrian official to abandon Assad since the uprising began.

Homs has been the scene of some of the heaviest fighting of the conflict.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Amman newsroom; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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