awaf al-Fares, Syria's ambassador to Iraq, has defected in protest of President Bashar al-Assad's deadly 16-month crackdown on a popular uprising against Assad's regime. The report came from Syrian opposition forces who say Fares would be the first senior Syrian diplomat to defect, and that there are more officials preparing to denounce Assad. "This is just the beginning of a series of defections on the diplomatic level. We are in touch with several ambassadors," said Mohamed Sermini of the main exiled opposition group, the Syrian National Council.
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