The most senior Syrian diplomat to defect and publicly embrace his country's uprising is calling for a foreign military intervention to topple president Bashar al-Assad.
Nawaf al Fares spokes to CNN's Ivan Watson in Doha, Qatar. Fares also accused the Damascus regime of collaborating with al Qaeda militants against opponents both in Syria and in neighboring Iraq.
Here's a transcript of the interview:
CNN'S IVAN WATSON: Who is making the decisions in Damascus right now? Who is directing Syrian government policy facing this uprising?
NAWAF AL FARES: The regime in Syria is a totalitarian regime and a dictatorship. There is only one person who gives the orders. One person who is the president. The rest of the regime personnel are people who only obey.
WATSON: You have been a senior member within the Syrian government, a governor, the first ambassador to Iraq from Syria in more than 20 years. What prompted you to say I've had it, I don't want to work with this government any more?
FARES: I served the Syrian regime for 34 years. I was at the top of the Syrian regime. But what happened in the last year during the holy revolution, all of the killing, the massacres, the refugees, and the declaration of war by Bashar al Assad against the Syrian people, stopped any kind of hope towards reform or real change which had been promised previously by Bashar al Assad. Of course, the regime will try and destroy my reputation. This is a well known tactic. I may be the defection that hurts the regime the most.
WATSON: Does the Syrian president and his supporters, do they believe they'll win in the end?
FARES: They are trapped. They committed crimes. And they entered into a war of blood. And they are aware that they are going to pay for it. They are just buying time. Maybe they will get a chance to escape.
WATSON: Do you want a military intervention in Syria by foreign powers?
FARES: This regime will not go without force. the suffering of the Syrian people is very great. And they want it to end by any way possible. I support military intervention because I know the nature of this regime. This regime will only go with force.
WATSON: What message would you like to send to Bashar al Assad and your former colleagues in the Syrian government?
FARES: My former colleagues I ask them to join the people. And leave this corrupt regime. And there is still time for that. To Bashar al Assad, I say you don't know history. Two wills cannot be defeated: the will of God and the will of the people. So learn from history. Have mercy on the poor people of Syria. And history will curse you for the crimes you committed in Syria.
WATSON: Do you know whether or not Syria is getting material assistance from allies like Russia or Iran?
FARES: I don’t know about China. But from Iran there is financial support and weapons and the Iranians are not hiding that. Historically, all the weapons in Syria are coming from Russia. And definitely until today they continue to provide Syria with weapons.
WATSON: There’s growing concern in Western capitals about the stockpiles of chemical weapons in Syria. That as the country grows more chaotic, those could fall out of the government’s control. s that a scenario that worries you as well?
FARES: I don’t find any need to worry. There are chemical weapons. But I don’t think the regime is going to use them.