Senior Syrian diplomat defects in further blow to Assad regime
Nawaf al-Fares, Syria’s ambassador to Iraq, has left a major blow to the Assad regime by choosing to join the Syrian revolution, which he described as his “natural place”.
Al-Fares, Damascus’s first ambassador to Baghdad in more than 30 years, will become the first and most senior diplomat to abandon President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
In a video statement on Facebook, Nawaf al-Fares said: “I declare that I have joined, from this moment, the ranks of the revolution of the Syrian people.
“I ask […] the members of the military to join the revolution and to defend the country and the citizens […]. Turn your guns towards the criminals from this regime“, he added.
He continually emphasised the killing of civilians in the 16-month uprising in his message.
The foreign ministry announced that he had officially been “relieved of his duties”.
It was also reported that he left the Syrian embassy in Iraq without first obtaining approval from the ministry.
Nawaf al-Fares pledged that more diplomats will follow him in joining the opposition.
He is backed by Syrian National Council (SNC) member Mohammed Sermini, who told Reuters: “This is just the beginning of a series of defections on the diplomatic level.”
It has been reported that the Al-Fares is heading to Turkey to seek asylum.