In what could be one of the highest-level defections from the Syrian government, the country's military police chief has reportedly left Bashar al-Assad's forces to join "the people's revolution."
In a video posted online this week, a man identified as Maj. Gen. Abdul Aziz Jassim al-Shallal announced his defection and said he was joining the country's popular uprising.
"The Syrian military has strayed from its core mission in protecting the homeland to become nothing but armed gangs that kill and destroy the cities and the villages, carrying out massacres against our innocent civilian population that came out demanding freedom and dignity," he said.
Al-Shallal had been plotting his escape to Turkey for weeks with the help of rebels, said Louai Miqdad, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army.FULL STORY
With explosives and gunfire, rebels attacked a military building in Damascus on Wednesday, the second such attack on a military facility in two days.
The government said a fight was under way to "cleanse" the terrorists from the targeted building - the office of the joint chiefs of staff - but military officials are fine.
However, Iran's state-run Press TV said one of its correspondents was killed by gunfire and its bureau chief hurt. It was unclear whether it has offices in the building or the journalists were there covering a story.
At least 21 other journalists have been killed covering the Syrian war since November, making the nation the most dangerous place in the world for journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The Free Syrian Army, a prominent armed group battling government forces, claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack.
A day earlier, dual attacks rattled a Damascus school building used by Syrian intelligence. The new school year has not started.
The brazen assaults on military facilities in the capital city show the resilience of a rebel force that has shown no signs of slowing down despite a brutal government crackdown that has gone on for 18 months.
The government blamed the attacks on the military sites on "terrorists," a term it consistently uses to describe anti-regime fighters. It vowed to continue its "unyielding fight" to confront terrorism.
Across the nation, at least 117 people were killed in attacks Wednesday. So far, the conflict has left more than 26,000 people dead since March 2011.
–CNN's Faith Karimi contributed to this report.