Abdo Hussameldin, Syria’s deputy oil and mineral wealth minister, declared in a video uploaded to YouTube yesterday his defection from president Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and announced his decision to “join the revolution of this dignified people.”
“I am joining the revolution of the people who reject injustice and the brutal campaign of the regime,” Hussameldin, 58, said in the video.
The official’s defection comes just one week before the anniversary of the uprising’s symbolic beginning, March 15. It also falls on a national holiday: the 49th anniversary of Ba’ath party rule in Syria.
Hussameldin seems to be the highest ranking political figure to join the opposition. Before this, the most notable defection was that of Brigadier-general Mustafa Ahmad al-Shaikh, who fled to Turkey early this year.
Violence continues in Syria, where UN estimates some 7,500 people have died since the uprising’s beginning.
Foreign traditional media outlets have been barred from entering Syria’s borders by Assad’s regime, and have since been forced to report on events in Syria by proxy, contacting Syrian citizens through social media and phone, and through correspondence with organized opposition groups such as the Local Coordination Committees of Syria.
Video courtesy of The GuardianTags: Syria