Former Syria envoy: Al-Qaeda working with Syrian security forces


Nawaf Fares, the Syrian ambassador to Iraq who defected last week, has told the Sunday Telegraph that recent bombings in Syria attributed to al-Qaeda were carried out with the cooperation of Syrian security forces:

“All these major explosions have been have been perpetrated by al-Qaeda through cooperation with the security forces,” he said. …

“Al-Qaeda would not carry out activities without knowledge of the regime,” he told the Sunday Telegraph’s Ruth Sherlock, in an interview July 13th. “The Syrian government would like to use al-Qaeda as a bargaining chip with the West – to say: ‘it is either them or us’.” […]

Fares’ position, first as a provincial governor, and then, since 2008, as Syria’s first envoy to Iraq in 26 years, would seem to have given him a unique vantage point for the claims. The US-led coalition forces in Iraq long asserted that Syria was actively facilitating the travel to Iraq of al-Qaeda linked militants through its territory. Continue reading

Syria's Iraq envoy defects, urges other Baath members to join revolt

Syria's ambassador to Iraq Nawaf Fares has defected and resigned from Syria's ruling Baath party, he confirmed in a statement to Al Jazeera Wednesday, marking the second high profile defection from the Bashar al-Assad regime in a week. .

“I urge all honest members of this party to follow my path because the regime has turned it to an instrument to kill people and their aspiration to freedom,” Fares said in the statement.
“I also declare from this moment that I have joined the ranks of the revolution, ” he said.

Iraqi officials were due to meet on the defection Thursday and the possibility of sending Fares to a third country, likely Turkey, Agence-France Press reported. The Associated Press reported that Fares is already en route to Turkey.

Fares, who has served as Syria's Iraq envoy for four years, “is a member of the privileged Sunni elite in a regime dominated by Assad's minority Alawite sect,” the AP report said. His defection follows that of Brig. Gen. Munaf Tlass last week. Tlass, also a Sunni, is a former  Assad insider, the son of the defense minister in the regime of Bashar al-Assad's father and predecessor Hafez al-Assad.  Continue reading