Syria envoy to Cyprus defects

Ambassador of Syria in UAE also renounced post

Syria's charge d'affairs in Cyprus, Lamia Hariri, has defected from the regime, a high-level source told AFP Wednesday, as an opposition source confirmed the country's ambassador in the UAE had also defected.

"It is true that Lamia Hariri (has defected) but it is not yet (confirmed) that her husband has," the source had said on condition of anonymity.

But an opposition activist in the country confirmed to AFP that her husband, Syria's ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Abdel Latif al-Dabbagh, had also defected.

Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television said on Wednesday that Dabbagh had also defected, but it did not say where he was.

Later on Wednesday, the security attache in the Syrian embassy in Oman made a similar announcement on Al Jazeera.

"What is going on (in Syria) is heartbreaking... this is what has pushed me to defect from this corrupt regime," Mohammed Tahsin al-Fakir told the news channel from Qatar.

Fakir said he had defected "after the killing, destruction and shelling of neighbourhoods across Syria has increased".

In February, Gulf Arab states announced the expulsion of Syria's envoys in protest at Damascus' deadly crackdown on dissent.

The string of defections come after Nawaf Fares, Syria's ambassador to Iraq, left for Qatar this month after publicly renouncing his post.

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