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Yemen leader isolated after generals defect

Yemen's embattled President was hit by a wave of defections among his generals yesterday as tanks from rival factions took to the streets of the capital.

The regime vowed to counter any attempts at a coup after the country's top military commander switched sides and joined the protesters calling for end to the 32-year rule of Ali Saleh.

The military defections put more than 50% of the military on the side of the rebellion.

Anti-government protesters based at Sana'a University were ecstatic to hear of the generals’ defections. Soldiers moved freely in and out of the protest camp, drinking tea, posing for photographs and receiving kisses from demonstrators who have camped there for more than a month.

The top commander, Major General Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, yesterday condemned the Saleh regime and declared his support for the revolution on behalf of the military.

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