News / Middle East

Syria Denies Defection of Vice President

Syria's Vice President Farouq al-Shara (file photo)
Syria's Vice President Farouq al-Shara (file photo)
VOA News

Syria is denying reports that Vice President Farouq al-Shara has defected. 

Syrian state television Saturday quoted a statement from Shara's office as saying the 73-year-old Sunni Muslim "never thought for a moment about leaving the country."

The channel also said Shara welcomed the U.N. appointment Friday of veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi as international envoy to Syria.

Brahimi is replacing former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan, who will step down as envoy to Syria at the end of the month.

A U.S. spokesman said he could not confirm the reports of Shara's defection.  But the spokesman said the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is becoming increasingly isolated.

In violence Saturday, Syrian activists said the military carried out air raids on rebel-held areas in the country, including the border town of Azaz in the northern region of Aleppo.

A man cries in front of houses destroyed during a recent Syrian Air Force air strike in Azaz, about 47 kilometers north of Aleppo, Syria, August 15, 2012.A man cries in front of houses destroyed during a recent Syrian Air Force air strike in Azaz, about 47 kilometers north of Aleppo, Syria, August 15, 2012.
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A man cries in front of houses destroyed during a recent Syrian Air Force air strike in Azaz, about 47 kilometers north of Aleppo, Syria, August 15, 2012.
A man cries in front of houses destroyed during a recent Syrian Air Force air strike in Azaz, about 47 kilometers north of Aleppo, Syria, August 15, 2012.
More than 40 people were killed in an attack on Azaz a few days ago.

On Friday, thousands of Syrians took to the streets in anti-government demonstrations, as Syrian aerial forces targeted opposition hubs in Aleppo and fought rebels in neighborhoods around Damascus.

The U.N. Security Council has said it is allowing the mandate for the U.N. observer mission in Syria to expire.  The mandate ends Sunday, but the council said it hopes to establish a political office in the battle-ravaged country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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by: Chandra from: India
August 18, 2012 6:53 PM
someone must inform Obama that hesitation in the face of evil is a disaster... and the coming disaster is Iran... we have all been transfixed by Israel possible response to a global threat... but the real Iranian threat is to its immediate neighbors... and India, whose Muslim population is increasingly militant

by: Anonymous
August 18, 2012 11:32 AM
The ONLY reason he hasn't defected is because he hasn't had the perfect opportunity yet. I am sure Assad has his party tightly under security so his last few limbs don't defect. It would be a crushing blow and the table would be turned if the Vice President left also. On another note, the Vice President is part of the system and has blood on his hands too. The longer the Vice President stays the worse off he will be. Bombarding your own innocent civillians constitutes "War Crimes".

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 18, 2012 10:22 AM
Two things come to play here: 1, When virtually every city in Syria appears to reject the Assad regime, what is it waiting for? Until all of Syria is destroyed? 2, What is the guarantee that the next envoy is going to succeed when Annan failed? If the new envoy succeeds, it will raise a question whether there is also racial discrimination in islam. This is more so when this report says the vice president of Syria welcomed the new UN envoy, which is a sign he's going to succeed in restoring peace in the country. This might be the compromise on which he accepted to denounce his defection. But if a person is alive, he should answer when his name is called, not another answering for him. Let's hear from Farouq al-Shara himself where he is.

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