Syrian chargé d'affaires in London defects
Published Monday, July 30, 2012
Syria's top diplomat in London resigned Monday in protest against the "violent and oppressive" acts of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, the British Foreign Office said.
The Foreign Office said in a statement that charge d'affaires Khaled al-Ayoubi had informed it on Monday that he had "left his post," describing it as a blow to the Syrian government.
"Mr al-Ayoubi has told us that he is no longer willing to represent a regime that has committed such violent and oppressive acts against its own people, and is therefore unable to continue in his position," it said.
Britain expelled the previous Syrian charge d'affaires, Ghassan Dalla, and two other diplomats in May.
Syria had earlier withdrawn its ambassador from London.
"Mr al-Ayoubi was the most senior Syrian diplomat serving in London. His departure is another blow to the Assad regime," the Foreign Office said.
It added: "We urge others around Bashar al-Assad to follow Mr al-Ayoubi's example; to disassociate themselves from the crimes being committed against the Syrian people and to support a peaceful and free future for Syria."
There was no immediate confirmation of the defection from the Syrian government.
The move comes after a series of defections by senior Syrian officials in recent weeks, including diplomats in several countries and top army officers.
Oil-rich Gulf Arab states, which are financing and arming Syrian rebels, were said to be attempting to bribe members of Syria's diplomatic and military circles to defect.