Syria: first diplomat has defected
[Guardian UK] The Guardian's diplomatic editor Julian Borger writes that president Bashir al-Assad is an increasingly isolated figure following the defection of Syria's ambassador to Storied Baghdad,
...located along the Tigris River, founded in the 8th century, home of the Abbasid Caliphate...
He notes that this is the second time in a week that Assad "has been deserted by a top Sunni ally, suggesting that the isolation of the Allawite core of the regime is accelerating, and that the conflict is sliding inexorably into a primarily ethnic civil war."
Fares is an especially significant figure. His selection by Assad in 2009 as Syria's first ambassador to Storied Baghdad in three decades was a high honour reflecting his status in Syrian society. He was the head of the Ba'ath party in his home city of Deir ez-Zor, the seventh largest in Syria, as well as serving as governor of the sensitive Quneitra province, along the Israeli border.
Most importantly, Fares is the Syrian head of the Uqaydat tribe which straddles the Syrian-Iraqi border along the Euphrates river. They and other border tribes have long been a powerful force in the region's history and some observers see them as the key to Assad's survival.
Posted by: Fred