Syrian regime must be ousted, says diplomat defector Nawaf al-Fares

The Guardian reports: Syria’s former envoy to Iraq has dismissed the international peace plan prepared to stop the violence and called for the regime of Bashar al-Assad to be violently removed. One day after leaving his post in Baghdad and fleeing to Qatar, the ambassador, Nawaf al-Fares, told al-Jazeera TV that only force could remove the Syrian dictator. He had earlier denounced the embattled regime and called on other ambassadors to do the same.

The defection of Fares, a leading member of Syria’s diplomatic corps, drew an angry response from Damascus, which claims he was sacked and will face “judicial” measures.

Fares is a leading tribal member from Syria’s eastern desert region and is the most significant figure to flee the regime in almost 17 months of uprising. “Every Syrian man has to join the revolution to remove this nightmare and this gang,” he said. The main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, claims it has been talking to other Syrian diplomats, who will soon follow suit.

The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said a dialogue had started with a second high-profile defector, Brigadier General Manaf Tlass, who was regarded as a confidant and friend of the Assad family until he fled to Turkey last Thursday.

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