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Activists: 9 Syrian judges defect

AMMAN, Jordan – Syrian activists say nine state judges and prosecutors have defected to the opposition.

The Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights says the latest defectors from the regime of President Bashar Assad come from the northern city of Adlib.

In video statement, posted online Sunday, the nine judges identify themselves by name as one of them reads a joint statement and urges others to break ranks with Assad.

Many government officials and army officers have abandoned the regime to join the opposition since the uprising started in March 2011.

Ex-Prime Minister Riad Hijab is the most senior Syrian official to defect so far.

Syria's opposition is dominated by members of the country's Sunni minority. Assad's regime is predominantly Alawite, an offshoot group of Shiite Islam.

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