Why I defected as Syria’s ambassador to Iraq

Nawaf al-Fares explains why he resigned as both Syria’s ambassador to Iraq and as a member of the ruling Baath Party.

Nawaf al-Fares, Syria's ambassador to Iraq, has defected to the opposition [Al Jazeera]

Nawaf al-Fares, Syria’s Ambassador to Iraq, on Wednesday announced his defection from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad as well as the Arab Baath Socialist Party in Syria, protesting against “the terrible massacre that people are subjected to by the regime” while urging all Syrians to join the revolution, and the army to stand by the people.

The defected ambassador has urged all the Syrians to join the revolution and called them for unity, and not to allow the regime which he described as a “gang” egging strife between them.

An Arab diplomatic source in Baghdad has confirmed before airing the tape that Fares sent a letter to the Iraqi foreign ministry stating his resignation from office, and that the Iraqi government on Thursday morning will discuss ways to transfer him to another country other than Syria.

He has also urged the army to stop killing civilians, and called on all military personnel to direct their guns against what he described as “the killers of the people”, saying “there is still plenty of time in front of them”.

Fares was appointed ambassador to Iraq in 2008 and before taking over political, party and security responsibilities in Syria. He served as a governor of Kenitra, Latakia and Idlib, and served as Secretary of the Baath Party in Deir Az-Zour. He also assumed security responsibilities, including the position of head of the Political Security branch in Lattakia, and is a graduate of the police academy.

“I announce my resignation as an ambassador of the Arab Syrian Republic to Iraq…I also announce my withdrawal from the rank of the Arab Baath Socialist party,” he said in a video obtained by Al Jazeera. He elaborated: 

“I call on all honourable members of the party to take me as an example and defect as the regime has turned it [the party into] a tool to suppress the people and its aspiration toward getting its freedom and dignity.

The regime has made the party a cover to all its vices and perils.

I declare that I have joined, from this moment, the ranks of the revolution of the Syrian people which is my natural place during these hard times and circumstances.

I call all honourable and free Syrians, particularly members of the military to join the revolution and to defend the country and the citizens.

Dear military men… your mission is to defend the nation against any external threat… have your people become your enemy? Is that what you have learned at your military academies? Is it your slogan: Homeland, Honour and Loyalty?Where is honour if you are killing your people?

Where is the homeland and loyalty? The homeland is all the people and not a single individual [in reference to Bashar al-Assad] and loyalty is to the people and not to a dictator killing his people.

Dear brothers, people still cling to hope and there is still time… Turn your guns towards the criminals from this regime…be loyal to the people as you have pledged when you joined the army and took the military oath.

I call all Syrian people to unite and don’t let the wicked regime to seed sedition among you. By being united, Syria will be defended and the victory will be achieved, Allah willing.”

Source: Al Jazeera