White House: Reported Syria defections a good sign

WASHINGTON (AP) ? The White House is calling reports of more defections among senior Syrian government officials a good sign the regime is cracking from within.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says he can’t confirm reports from Turkey that a pair of Syrian generals, as well as other military personnel, have defected.

Those reports followed word that Syria’s deputy oil minister has defected, and recorded a scathing denunciation of the Assad regime that was posted on YouTube.

Earnest calls the reported defections a “courageous step” that backs up the U.S. view that Syrian President Bashar Assad will fall.

For the past year, Syria’s government has tried to crush a popular uprising inspired by the Arab Spring movements. The U.N. says more than 7,500 people have been killed.