A high-level official with Syria’s Foreign Ministry has defected, according to reports on Monday, which have suggested that he left the country.
Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi left the country, a diplomatic source told Reuters. The source did not wish to be named.
“He defected. All I can say is that he is out of Syria,” the source said.
Makdissi had been one of the faces of the regime of Bashar al-Assad during the 20-month-long conflict. It was Makdissi who made the announcement earlier this year that Syria possessed chemical and biological weapons.
Specifically, “Maqdessi left Damascus for Beirut and from there he headed to an unknown destination,” Jamal al-Wadi, an official with the opposition Syrian National Council, told Sky News Arabic, according to Naharnet. The news website also claimed he departed for London on Monday.
Makdissi often spoke at news conferences and his statements about official Syrian policies were carried by state-run media.
He was also a stalwart defender of the Assad regime during the bloody crackdown and ensuing civil war that has left well over 30,000 people dead.
“Maqdessi has been relieved of his duties for voicing stances that do not conform to Syria’s official rhetoric,” the Lebanese, Hezbollah-affiliated Al Manar station said, according to Naharnet.
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