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Jordan arrests 10 alleged Syrian defectors

Authorities in Jordan detain 10 Syrian nationals who say they defected from Syrian army; Rebel leader claims detained men are spies

AFP , Sunday 25 Mar 2012
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Jordan has arrested ten Syrians who claimed they were army defectors after they left a designated area in the northern city of Mafraq.

"They were arrested last week and are currently under interrogation," a security official said to AFP. "They lived in a building in a Mafraq area that is designated for Syrians who flee to Jordan. They were not allowed to leave that area without permission."

A senior rebel leader alleged that the ten men were spies. "After checking with the Free Syrian Army, we found they are not army defectors. They are spies who came here to gather information on Syrian refugees," he told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Amman government has said around 80,000 Syrians have sought refuge in the kingdom since March last year, when protests began against the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday it had registered more than 6,000 Syrians in Jordan since last year, with a further 2,500 awaiting registration.

The violence in Syria has killed at least 9,100 people over the past year, according to monitors.

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