July 15th, 2012
02:08 PM ET

Most senior diplomat to defect from Syria talks to CNN

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.

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Assad • China • Iran • Iraq • Kofi Annan • Middle East • Russia • Syria • UN Security Council • United Nations
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Lars

    Sounds like an interesting story. What atrocities has he committed or ordered? Now when does he go to Guantanamo?

    July 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  2. daisy

    So I can meet the man of my dreams at Agelover .COM and then have Taxi Dave party drive us home. Sounds like a win-win.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:48 am | Reply
  3. Quigley

    Has anyone here any notion of just how much of our tax dollars did the C.I.A. pay this bozo to defect? I guess that it was a great deal. Now international bribery has become a staple of U.S. foreign policy. The way Washington does business stinks to High Heaven!!!

    July 16, 2012 at 1:24 am | Reply
  4. Matt

    No foreign intervention. The press conferences by the foreign ministry are starting to resemble Libya. The psy-ops and PR has been increased due to fear of losing support of the population that are on the sidelines or still supporting the regime to justify the violence.

    From the beginning the Saudi's were trying to deescalate the conflict not increase it or for the regime to justify the violence, or for foreign powers to increase the supply of logistics to the regime. It is civil war not genocide yet. There is two things when the decree is lifted, if it, the opposition will be able to run over the top of the regime, as it has been weakened, two the regime will be incapable of responding with violence in relation to the lifting of the decree.

    So this all has some time to play out, Assad will remain through 2012 an into 2013, before the end game plays out.

    July 16, 2012 at 12:28 am | Reply
  5. Chris

    من جد دا تعليقك احنا دفعنا له حتى يروح ؟! من الواضح انه له اقارب في سوريا وبسهولة استطيع اتصور بخصوص الوضع الحالي حسن المعاملة اللي بيشوفوها ( افهم يا فهيم ) آمن العائلة مهم جدا للاشخاص في الدول المسلمة ولا يمثل قريب الدم العائلة فقط ولكن يدخل ضمن اعتبار العائلة الافراد المحيطين كاخوة واخوات . لذلك افتراض ان دافعه هوا المال سخافه . لا يهم ان كان الارهابين هم من يهاجمون المدنين , لا يجب التعامل مع الارهابين بالدبابات والمروحيات , فقط انظر كيف مضى ذلك للامريكان حين تعاملو بقوة السلاح في العراق وافغانستان . فقط حين قرر الامريكان ان يتعاملو مع الناس بدل محاربتهم تغير وضعهم للاحسن. نستطيع ان نرى بوضوح ان القيادة الحالية في سوريا في دوامة قاتلة, باتخاذهم القرارت الخاطئة الغير منطقية . حين يصبح الحاكم فوق المسائلة يفسد , انظر لاي حكم ديكتاتوري او ملكي وترى انهم لا يصمدون مطولا قبل تدمير انفسهم بقراراتهم الخاطئة . وذلك لان القيادة تصبح محاطة بالراضخين فقط ويصبحون معزولين بفقاعه من الاكاذيب وبعيدين عن الواقع.

    July 15, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Reply
  6. HUBBaBUbba

    Talk is Cheap but history is history THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE CAN NOT BE BEATEN not by assAd or any his tools of distructIon


    July 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  7. HUBBaBUbba


    July 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  8. saeed

    this is very funny usa and britain are lossing so they pay millions of dollars to a syrian general to save face man this guy must be happy now hes stolen half of the usa treasury.

    July 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      Seriously? That is your comment we paid him to leave? Obviously he still has some form of extended family in Syria, and I can only imagine how well they are being treated now. Family security is very important to people in Muslim countries, and this isn't only blood relatives but they also consider people they interact with as brothers and sisters. So to assume he did this because of money is ridiculous. It doesn't matter whether its terrorists who are attacking civilians, you don’t deal with terrorists with tanks, artillery, and helicopters. Just look how well that worked for the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was only when the USA decided they should work with the people instead of fight them that things changed. It’s plain to see the current leadership in Syria is in a fatal spiral, they are not making logical choices. When leaders have no one to answer to they become corrupt, look at any dictatorship or Monarchy, they only last for so long before they destroy themselves from poor choices. This is because the leadership becomes surrounded by yes men, so they become insulated with a bubble of lies and are removed from reality.

      July 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
    • Brian from Chicago

      Oh, my goodness, half the US treasury is gone.

      July 16, 2012 at 1:04 am | Reply

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