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May 7, 2021
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Syrian ambassador to Iraq defects to opposition

Russian Warships Steam to Syria.

Syria’s ambassador to Iraq has defected to the opposition and urged other senior Syrian politicians and members of the military to do the same, BBC reports.Nawaf Fares is the first senior Syrian diplomat to abandon the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Syria’s foreign affairs ministry has responded by formally dismissing him from his post, Sana news agency says. Meanwhile, government forces have shelled an area of Damascus, activists have reported. Mortar rounds were said to have been fired into orchards in Kafr Souseh in an apparent offensive against rebels. Shelling has largely been concentrated on more outlying suburbs such as Douma.Mr Fares’s defection comes just a week after a Syrian general from a powerful family close to President Assad also defected.He confirmed his decision in a statement broadcast on Facebook and al-Jazeera TV.With Syrian revolutionary flags behind him, he read out the statement saying he was resigning both as Syria’s ambassador to Iraq and as a member of the ruling Baath Party.Nawaf al-Fares, the Syrian ambassador to Iraq, is the second high-profile official to break with the regime in a week, CNN further informs. A brigadier general, who was also the son of a former defense minister, defected last week to protest the killings. Al-Fares “made statements contrary to his job duty to defend the positions of the country and its issues, which requires legal accountability and discipline,” the Syrian foreign ministry said in a statement. Present Bashar al- Assad’s bloody crackdown on the opposition has sparked international outrage, but he still enjoys the support of allies such as Russia, Iran and China.Russia and China — which are permanent Security Council members – have previously vetoed U.N. Security Council draft resolutions that would formally condemn the Syrian regime. Two Russian Navy ships entered the eastern Mediterranean Wednesday, steaming toward a Russian Navy base at Tartus, Syria. The ships are advance units of a flotilla of 11 warships – one destroyer, five amphibious landing ships, two patrol frigates, two rescue tugs, and one tanker. Several ships carry units of Russian Marines.

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