Syria fires defecting ambassador

Nawaf Fares was the highest profile diplomat to leave regime

Syria's Foreign Ministry says it has fired the country's ambassador to Iraq after he defected to the opposition.

In a statement reported by Syria's state news agency on Thursday, the ministry said Nawaf Fares had been "relieved of his duties" and should face "legal and disciplinary accountability."

Fares announced his defection in a video released on Wednesday, saying he was siding with "the revolution" against President Bashar Assad.

He is the highest profile diplomat to defect in the uprising and the second prominent figure to leave the regime in a week.

Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass, an Assad confidant and son of a former defense minister, fled Syria last week, though he has not spoken publically since.

Tlas in talks with opposition: France

Syrian general Manaf Tlas, a former friend and ally of President Bashar Al Assad who fled Damascus last week, is in contact with Syrian opposition rebels, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Thursday.

"I know the opposition and this general have approached each other ... contact has been made," Fabius told reporters in Paris.
 
Tlas fled late last week and was reported to be on his way to Paris to join his family.

His father, Mustapha, defence minister under Assad's father for 30 years, lives in the French capital, as does his sister, the widow of a wealthy Saudi arms dealer.

However, Fabius said he could not confirm whether Tlas was in France. 
 

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