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Senior Officer Defects As Battles Rage For Airports, Damascus Suburbs

Buildings damaged by what activists said were missiles fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Daraya, near Damascus. (file photo)
Another senior Syrian intelligence officer has announced his defection from President Bashar al-Assad's regime in a video posted online.

Jumaa Farraj Jassem, a section chief in Syria's General Intelligence Directorate, announced his defection and described Assad's regime as "criminal."

Meanwhile, on January 12, Syrian rebels were reportedly battling government forces for control of two military airports in the northern province of Aleppo -- the Al-Ming and Narib bases.

The fighting comes a day after rebels captured the strategic Taftanaz military base in northern Syria.

In Damascus, government officials claimed the regime has recaptured most of the suburb of Daraya from rebels in a battle that has lasted weeks.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that Daraya and other Damascus suburbs were being shelled by government forces on January 12.

Based on reporting by AFP, dpa, Reuters, and AP