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Syria´s Ambassador to Iraq Defects (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Elad Benari 07/12/12) Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/157756
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Syria´s ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf Fares, has defected from the regime of embattled President Bashar al-Assad, an Arab diplomat in Baghdad told AFP Wednesday.
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“He submitted a letter to the Iraqi MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs),” the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, told the French news agency.
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“They (Iraqi officials) will have a meeting tomorrow (Thursday). They are going to discuss sending him to another country,” the diplomat added.
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The United States said it could not confirm Fares´ defection, but White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, according to AFP, “There have been a number of high-level defections in recent days and weeks, and they are simply the tip of the iceberg.”
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He added, “There have been many, many defections within the military leadership, within the government, and I think that is an indication of the fact that support for Assad is crumbling, internationally and internally. And that´s a welcome development.”
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The ambassador’s defection comes barely a week after a top general, Manaf Tlass, defected from Assad’s army. Tlass is thus far the most influential military officer to have abandoned the Assad regime.
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Tlass was an officer in the elite Republican Guard charged with protecting the regime. He is the son of former defense minister Mustafa Tlass, a close friend of Assad´s late father and predecessor, Hafez.
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The Pentagon said last week that Tlass’ defection is “significant” and signals cracks in Assad´s inner circle.
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He reportedly fled to Turkey, which has become home to dozens of soldiers who have crossed the border. Around 35,000 displaced Syrians have sought refuge in Turkey since the start of a bloody uprising in March 2011. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 07/12/12)
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