Syrian defections timeline

AFP , Monday 6 Aug 2012

A timeline of the key defections from the Assad regime since the start of the Syrian uprising in March 2011

Key defections from the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad since the start of the uprising in March last year:

- April 2011: Two members of parliament representing the city of Daraa, cradle of the uprising, resign over the repression there.
- July 30: Colonel Riad al-Asaad, an army officer, says he has defected and gone to neighbouring Turkey to form the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Since then many other soldiers have left to join the FSA. They include 31 generals, many of whom are reported to have returned to Syria to join the battle against Assad's regime.
- January 2012: MP Imad Ghalioun announces in Egypt he has resigned to oppose the regime.
- March 8: In a video published on the Internet, Abdo Hussameddin, Assad's deputy oil minister, says he is defecting and joining the rebellion.
- June 22: A fighter pilot defects with his aircraft to Jordan, where he asks for and receives political asylum.
- July 6: General Manaf Tlass reported to have defected. The highest-ranking figure to abandon Assad to date, Tlass later surfaces in Paris, calls for an end to attacks on civilians and says the regime bears most of the responsibility for the bloodshed.
- July 11: Syria's ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf Fares, becomes the first senior diplomat to defect. He takes refuge in Qatar.
- July 24: Lamia Hariri, charge d'affaires in Cyprus, and her husband Abdel Latif al-Dabbagh, ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, say they are defecting. The regime confirms the report two days later.
- July 25: Mohammed Tahsin al-Fakir, a security attache at the Syrian embassy in Oman, defects.
- July 30: Syria's top diplomat in London, charge d'affaires Khaled al-Ayoubi, resigns in protest against the "violent and oppressive" acts of the regime.
- August 5: Three intelligence officers defect and seek refuge in neighbouring Jordan. General Muhammed Ahmed Faris, a military aviator who became the first Syrian in space, flees to Turkey.
- August 6: Prime minister Riad Hijab defects to the opposition, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says, as state media report his abrupt sacking just two months after his appointment.
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