Ankara: A Syrian general and a number of soldiers defected and crossed into Turkey on Wednesday, the 15th such high-ranking officer to flee the conflict wracked nation, a Turkish diplomat said.

A total of 66 people fled into Turkey from Syria on Wednesday, including the general and two colonels as well as soldiers and their families, the diplomat told on condition of anonymity.

Turkey has become home to dozens of soldiers who have crossed the border. Defectors have formed the Free Syrian Army in opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Around 35,000 displaced Syrians have sought refuge in Turkey since the start of a bloody uprising in March 2011.

(Agencies)

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