A senior diplomat from the Syrian Embassy in Armenia appears to have defected to Dubai, joining several of his colleagues in openly backing the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Al-Jazeera television reported over the weekend that Mohammed Hosam, the number two figure at the embassy, has voiced support for the Syrian opposition’s struggle to topple al-Assad.
Diplomatic sources in Yerevan essentially confirmed the report on Monday. They told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that Hosam has already left Yerevan for Dubai on a regular flight operated by a United Arab Emirates airline.
According to the Syrian Embassy, Hosam did not report for work and embassy officials could not contact him on Monday. The Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Tigran Balayan, said later in the day that official Yerevan has so far received no requests from the Syrian side to terminate the diplomat’s accreditation.
Hosam is not the first Syrian diplomat to join the opposition ranks. Syria’s ambassadors to Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus already defected to the opposition.
The vast majority of Syria’s 80,000 Armenians live in Aleppo , which has been the focal point of fierce fighting between Syrian government troops and rebels over the past week.
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