Deputy oil minister of Syria resigns, joins revoltAgence France-Presse . Damascus
Syria’s deputy oil minister resigned Thursday to join an anti-regime revolt, as UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan urged a path of diplomacy rather than militarisation to end the crisis in Syria.
On the ground, another four civilians were killed in violence across Syria Thursday, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which this week put the number of people killed since the uprising began a year ago at almost 8,500.
Abdo Hussameddin announced his resignation in a video posted by activists on YouTube, saying he was joining the ranks of the rebels.
‘I, the engineer Abdo Hussameddin, the deputy oil minister... announce my defection from the regime and my resignation,’ he said in the video.
‘I am joining the revolution of the people who reject injustice and the brutal campaign of the regime, which is seeking to crush the people’s demand for freedom and dignity,’ he added.
The defection was quickly welcomed by Syrian opposition leader Burhan Ghalioun, who told AFP he expects more government officials and politicians to do the same.
‘I hail the deputy (oil) minister who defected and I call on all government members and public servants ... to abandon this regime and join the ranks of the revolution for freedom and dignity,’ said Ghalioun, head of the Syrian National Council, the main opposition group.
‘I expect for sure that there are other government officials and politicians who will follow suit,’ he added.
Former UN chief Annan told reporters in Cairo he had urged ‘the Syrian opposition to come together to work with us to find a solution that will respect the aspirations of the Syrian people.’
He also warned against further militarisation of the crisis, amid a groundswell of international support for arming the rebels, mostly army defectors, making up the Free Syrian Army which is battling regime forces in a number of flashpoint areas.
‘I believe further militarisation will make the situation worse,’ Annan said after talks with Arab League secretary general Nabil al-Arabi.
Annan, who said he would head to Damascus on Saturday, not Friday as announced earlier by the Arab League, warned of ‘the possible impact of Syria on the region if there is any miscalculation.’
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