Diplomat defects from Assad regime | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 13, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 13, 2012

Diplomat defects from Assad regime

West draws sanction ultimatum


Nawaf Fares

Pressure mounted on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad yesterday after a first senior diplomat defected and Western powers drew up a 10-day sanctions ultimatum.
Syria's ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf Fares, announced he was joining a small but growing list of officials who have defected to the opposition, as the regime battles a near 16-month-old uprising.
"I announce my defection from my post as representative of the Arab Syrian Republic in Iraq and my withdrawal from the ranks of the (ruling) Baath party," Fares said in a message aired on Al-Jazeera satellite channel late on Wednesday.
"I call on all free and worthy people in Syria, particularly in the military, to immediately rejoin the ranks of the revolution," he said, adding: "Turn your cannons and your tanks towards the criminals in the regime who are killing the people."
The defector has since taken refuge in Qatar, which has been among the most outspoken critics of Assad's regime, Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said yesterday, quoted on Iraqi television.
Fares had been the Damascus envoy to Iraq since September 2008 and was a leading member of the ruling Baath party.
The foreign ministry in Damascus said Fares had been "discharged". He would be "legally prosecuted and subjected to disciplinary action".

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