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More 'spectacular' defections in Syria soon: France - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius addresses the media upon his arrival at Beirut international airport. (AFP)

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius addresses the media upon his arrival at Beirut international airport. (AFP)

BEIRUT, (AFP)— French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told AFP Thursday he had information that the regime of embattled Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad would be rocked by more “spectacular” defections soon.

The Damascus regime has already been hit by the defections of Assad’s prime minister Riad Hijab and general Manaf Tlass, his childhood friend and the son of a close aide of Assad’s father Hafez, who ruled Syria with an iron fist.

“According to the information we have, but we will see if this is confirmed in the coming days, there will be other spectacular defections,” Fabius said during a visit to Beirut.

Recalling the defections of Hijab and Tlass, Fabius said that “all this shows that people from different communities … have decided to abandon the regime because they see that the only thing Bashar al-Assad is doing now is to assassinate his own people.”

He said the regime was in a state of “decomposition”, adding: “We would like this to happen as fast as possible.”

Like the majority of Syria’s population, Hijab is Sunni Muslim, while Assad’s ruling clan belongs to the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

The conflict erupted in March 2011 when regime forces cracked down on peaceful protests but has spiralled into an armed rebellion that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says has killed 23,000.

The UN puts the toll at 17,000.

A Free Syrian Army fighter fires an anti-aircraft gun at a Syrian Air force helicopter in Aleppo. (R)

A Free Syrian Army fighter fires an anti-aircraft gun at a Syrian Air force helicopter in Aleppo. (R)

A demonstrator wears a mask of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Ayatollah Khamenei during a rally of opponents to the governments of Syria and Iran in Berlin.(AFP)

A demonstrator wears a mask of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Ayatollah Khamenei during a rally of opponents to the governments of Syria and Iran in Berlin.(AFP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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