Syria soldiers 'defect and flee'

Foreign Secretary William Hague has admitted he is "deeply frustrated" by the ongoing bloodshed in Syria. He said sanctions against Syrian president Bashar Assad's regime were working, but urged for quicker action to oust the leader.

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Syrian general and soldiers 'flee to Turkey'

A Syrian general from an artillery division and seven officers were among dozens of soldiers, mostly serving in Homs province, who defected and fled to Turkey, a Syrian activist and Free Syrian Army sources told Reuters.

Turkish state broadcaster TRT Haber said on its website that 85 Syrian soldiers, including the general, were among those who were sent to the Apaydin camp in Turkey's Hatay province.

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UN: Arms flowing to both sides in Syrian conflict

 Damaged entrance of a mosque in Homs after fighting between Syrian rebel fighters and Bashar al-Assad's forces.
Damaged entrance of a mosque in Homs after fighting between Syrian rebel fighters and Bashar al-Assad's forces. Credit: Reuters

The Syrian government and the rebels are receiving more and more weapons, which is fueling violence in a 16-month conflict that the United Nations says has killed more than 10,000 people, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said.

"The ongoing provision of arms to the Syrian government and to its opponents feeds additional violence," Pillay said in the written text of remarks she made to the UN Security Council, obtained by Reuters. "Any further militarization of the conflict must be avoided at all costs."

She did not say where the weapons were coming from, though Russia and Iran are among the Syrian government's key suppliers. UN diplomats say Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been transferring arms to Syria's increasingly militarized opposition.

Turkey scrambles jets to guard Syrian border

Turkey's armed forces command confirmed on Monday that it had scrambled a total of six F-16 fighter jets in three separate incidents responding to Syrian military helicopters approaching the border on Sunday, but there was no violation of Turkish airspace.

It said in a statement the jets had been scrambled from Incirlik air base in southern Turkey in response to Syrian helicopters flying south of the Turkish province of Hatay, within 2-2.5 miles of the Turkish border.

This is the second day jets have been scrambled.

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Activists estimate 18,000 Syrians killed

by - Former International Editor

Activist estimate of Syria death toll so far;

Syrians killed:18,065

Soldiers killed:1,439.

It seems a strange distinction - are soldiers not Syrians?

The activist toll for Syrian army dead ia almost certainly an under-estimate. The Department Foreign Ministry Mekdad told me in May that nearly 6,000 troops and security forces had been killed.

Plumes of smoke over Damascus

by - Former International Editor

Plumes of smoke are visible at the western edge of Damascus. Locals report three large explosions near Irbeen. The Red Cross say that 26 civilians have been evacuated from Douma.

The loud explosion on Sunday night in Damascus was a car bomb at a military checkpoint which injured three soldiers, according to a pro-government media organisation. There is no confirmation of this.

Turk jets scramble after Syria aircraft near border

Turkey's armed forces command said it had scrambled a total of six F-16 fighter jets in three separate incidents responding to Syrian military helicopters approaching the border on Saturday, but there was no violation of Turkish airspace.

It said in a statement four of the jets had scrambled from Incirlik air base in southern Turkey in response to Syrian helicopters flying south of the Turkish province of Hatay.

Two other F-16s took off from a base in Batman after Syrian helicopters were spotted close to the border south of the Turkish province of Mardin.

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