Dozens of Syrian Army Deserters Take Refuge in Jordan

Jordanian FM says Syrian military and police defectors have sought refuge in the kingdom over the last eight months; Arab League to decide on Syria sanctions on Sunday.

Jordan's foreign minister said 100 Syrian military and police deserters have taken refuge in the kingdom throughout the eight-month uprising in their country.

Nasser Judeh's Sunday remarks were the first official public confirmation that Jordan hosts Syrian defectors.

Syria - AP - November 26, 2011

In September, officials said privately that Jordan had received 60 Syrian army and police deserters, who ranged in rank from corporal to colonel.

Judeh told The Associated Press that the Syrian soldiers and policemen, whom he claimed were conscripts rather than officers, had arrived in batches over the last eight months.

Many Syrians fleeing President Bashar Assad's crackdown have also sought refuge in neighboring Turkey.

Meanwhile, Arab League foreign ministers were to meet in Cairo later on Sunday to decide whether to rubber-stamp a set of sanctions on Syria drafted by their economy ministers after Syria ignored a deadline designed to end its violent crackdown on protesters.

Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim, who heads the league's ministerial committee on Syria, arrived in Cairo early Sunday. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was also expected to take part in the talks.

On Saturday, its economy ministers drafted a set of sanctions, which include a ban on travel by senior Syrian officials and the suspension of trade links.

As part of the proposed package, Arab governments are to also stop dealing with Syria's central bank and to suspend flights by Syria's state-owned airline, except for those carrying goods, the economy ministers said in a statement.