TT Epaper
The Telegraph
 
IN TODAY'S PAPER
WEEKLY FEATURES
CITIES AND REGIONS
ARCHIVES
Since 1st March, 1999
 
THE TELEGRAPH
 
 
CIMA Gallary

Syria envoy to Iraq ‘defects’

Beirut July 11 (Reuters): Syria’s ambassador to Iraq has defected in protest at President Bashar al-Assad’s military crackdown on a 16-month popular uprising, Syrian Opposition sources said today.

Nawaf al-Fares, who was closely linked to the security establishment, would be the first senior Syrian diplomat to defect. He is from Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria, the scene of a ferocious military onslaught by Assad’s forces.

“This is just the beginning of a series of defections on the diplomatic level. We are in touch with several ambassadors,” said Mohamed Sermini of the main exiled Opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC).

The defection of Fares, a Sunni in a power structure dominated by members of Assad’s minority Alawite sect, related to Shia Islam, dealt a serious blow to the authoritarian leader.

Fares’s move followed the high profile flight abroad of Gen. Manaf Tlas, who had been a close friend of Assad and a leading light among Sunni supporters of the president.

 
 
" "