yrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad al-Makdissi, who was the most public face of President Bashar al-Assad's regime as it fights a 20-month-old uprising, has fled the country, according to a diplomat in the region. Makdissi previously worked at the Syrian embassy in London, but returned to Damascus last year to serve as spokesman, defending the government's crackdown on what the regime has repeatedly called a "terrorist" uprising. He had little influence in a system largely run by the military, but "Assad's opponents will see the loss of such a high profile figure, if confirmed, as further evidence of a system crumbling from within."
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