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North Korean Waitresses Were Forced to 'Defect'

Former restaurant manager bares all on cable TV

(Newser) - A famous North Korean defection may have actually been a kidnapping engineered by the South—news that comes at a slightly awkward moment for the two Koreas, the New York Times reports. A South Korean cable TV channel broke the news Thursday, saying the apparent defection of 12 waitresses and... More »

Shots Fired as N. Korea Soldier Defects Through DMZ

Defector walked through thick fog to checkpoint

(Newser) - For the second time in two months, shots have been fired during a North Korean soldier's defection across the DMZ—and this time, it was South Koreans doing the shooting. The South Korean military says the "low ranking" soldier was manning a guard post before he walked across... More »

North Korea Makes Changes at Border After Defection

Soldiers dig a trench, plant trees

(Newser) - North Korea is trying to make sure that no others will be able to defect the way that a young soldier did last week . The fixes aren't exactly high-tech: North Korean soldiers were seen digging a big trench in the border area where the soldier first drove and then... More »

Dramatic Footage of Defector's Escape Released

North Korean soldier runs for his life as former comrades open fire

(Newser) - Dramatic video of a North Korean soldier defecting across the DMZ last week reveals just how narrow the man's escape was. The soldier can be seen fleeing in a military vehicle, which races toward the border down empty roads. The defector is seen abandoning the vehicle after it... More »

As He Ran Across the DMZ, His Fellow Soldiers Shot Him

Incident happened Monday in the Joint Security Area in the DMZ

(Newser) - If it sounds like an unusual event, that's because it is: A North Korea solider was shot and wounded in the demilitarized zone Monday afternoon while trying to defect to the South. The bullets came via "his former comrades," as CNN puts it, and struck him in... More »

Kim Jong Un Reportedly Hit By More Defections

Gov't says asylum seekers haven't contacted Japan

(Newser) - One or two officials may have followed the lead of a diplomat in London and defected from North Korea. A Health Ministry official stationed at North Korea's embassy in Beijing—tasked with sourcing medical supplies for a clinic visited by Kim Jong Un and his family—has reportedly sought... More »

North Korea Suffers 'Highest-Ranking' Defection

Thae Yong Ho has defected to South Korea

(Newser) - A North Korean diplomat stationed in London vanished in mid-July, and Seoul is now explaining why: Thae Yong Ho has defected to South Korea, in what the BBC reports could be the "highest-ranking" defection North Korea has experienced. The New York Times calls Thae the "No. 2" official... More »

N. Korea Honcho Defects in 'Coup' for S. Korea: Reports

He's said to be the highest-ranking military official to ever defect to South

(Newser) - On Friday, South Korea announced that 13 North Korean employees from a restaurant in China had defected into its fold, the AP reports. On Monday, the country added a pair of North Korean officials, one of whom is reportedly a spy-savvy army colonel, in what Reuters calls a "coup... More »

Syria Using Advanced Iranian Missiles: US

Meanwhile, two Syrian air force generals defect, Russia may meet opposition

(Newser) - The Syrian military has fired two missiles in the past week that US officials believe are a newer, more-accurate model from Iran. These Fateh A-110 missiles have less range than the Scud variants the regime has been relying on, with a maximum distance of 125 miles versus 185. But they... More »

Syria's Chief of Military Police Defects, Joins Opposition

Latest high-profile defection another setback to Assad regime

(Newser) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad suffered another high-profile defection last night, as the head of the Syrian military police declared he had switched to the rebels, reports the Guardian . Major General Abdul-Aziz Jassem al-Shallal said he was joining the "people's revolution" on al-Arabiya TV, although it was unclear when... More »

Ex-PM: Assad Only Controls 30% of Syria

'The regime is falling apart,' Riad Hijab says

(Newser) - Bashar al-Assad's days sound awfully numbered if you listen to ex-Prime Minister Riad Hijab. "The regime is falling apart morally, materially, economically," the defector told reporters in Jordan today. "Its military is rusting and it controls only 30% of Syria's territory." Hijab wasn't... More »

Syrian PM Defects: Rebels

But government claims Riad Hijab was fired

(Newser) - The Syrian opposition is claiming a big defection to its side: Prime Minister Riad Hijab. Hijab, who became prime minister two months ago, would be the highest-level defection of the uprising so far, the AP reports. An opposition source tells CBS that Hijab and his family are already out of... More »

Syrian Diplomat Defects as Aleppo Fighting Rages

Rebels seize key strategic points outside the city

(Newser) - Syria's most senior diplomat in London defected today, saying that he no longer wanted to represent a "violent and oppressive" government, the UK Foreign Office announced today. The office says Charge d'Affaires Khaled al-Ayoubi is staying in a safe place in Britain, the BBC reports, and hailed... More »

Suicide Blast Kills Key Assad Henchmen

State TV reports that more officials seriously wounded

(Newser) - A regime-shaking suicide attack on the National Security building has killed Bashar al-Assad's defense minister and brother-in-law, according to the country's state-run TV. The New York Times calls the death of defense minister Daoud Rajha the "first assassination of a prominent official" in the entirety of the... More »

Syria's Ambassador to Iraq: I'm Joining the Revolution

Diplomat urges his countrymen to abandon Assad

(Newser) - The Syrian ambassador to Iraq has defected, becoming the most senior diplomat to abandon the regime during its bloody 16-month uprising. "I'm announcing from this moment on that I'm siding with the revolution in Syria," Nawaf Fares said in a statement broadcast on al-Jazeera yesterday, denouncing... More »

Member of Assad's Inner Circle Defects

General's defection a sign regime may be falling apart

(Newser) - Is Bashar al-Assad's regime starting to crumble? The Syrian leader's staying power has been credited to the resilience of his inner circle (in contrast to Moammar Gadhafi's), but one of the regime's main figures has reportedly defected to Turkey. Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass is a close... More »

Syrian General, 84 Soldiers Defect to Turkey

Arab League urges opposition to unite at Cairo conference

(Newser) - A Syrian general and 84 other soldiers have fled to Turkey in one of the largest mass defections since the Syrian uprising began. The group, which has joined some 2,000 other former members of the Syrian military in a refugee camp in southern Turkey, included a colonel, lieutenant colonel,... More »

Dozens Defect Syrian Army as Rebels Cry Genocide

Europe calls for measured response to downed Turkish plane

(Newser) - The Syrian military has been hit with a raft of new defections: Six officers and 33 soldiers today quit the country for Turkey. Reports suggest they brought their families along, bringing the total number to 224 people. Accounts differ as to whether the defectors included an army general. They add... More »

Syria's Deputy Oil Minister Defects, Joins Rebels

Abdo Hussameddin slams 'barbaric' Assad regime

(Newser) - A top Syrian official has decided to abandon Bashar al-Assad's "criminal regime" and join the uprising. Deputy oil minister Abdo Hussameddin is the highest-ranking civilian to defect since the rebellion began a year ago, reports the BBC . "I am joining the revolution of the people who reject... More »

Josef Stalin's Daughter Dies in Wisconsin

Lana Peters defected from Soviet Union in 1967

(Newser) - Josef Stalin's only daughter has died in Wisconsin at the age of 85. Lana Peters—born Svetlana Alliluyeva Stalin—handed the US a massive Cold War publicity coup when she defected to the US in 1967, publicly burning her Soviet passport, and declaring: "I have come here to... More »

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