Syria’s deputy oil minister has left the Assad building:
Syria’s deputy oil minister announced his defection in an online video that emerged Thursday, making him the highest ranking civilian official to abandon the regime since the uprising against President Bashar Assad erupted a year ago.
Abdo Husameddine’s announcement came one day after the top U.S. general said President Barack Obama has asked for a preliminary review of military options in Syria, as the conflict grows increasingly dire. The U.N. estimates 7,500 people have been killed.
“I do not want to end my life servicing the crimes of this regime,” Husameddine said in a video posted on YouTube, adding that he was joining “the dignified people’s revolution.”
He appeared to address President Bashar Assad directly.
“You have inflicted on those you claim are your people a full year of sorrow and sadness, denied them the their basic rights to life and humanity and pushed the country to the edge of the abyss,” said Husameddine, wearing a suit and tie and appearing to be reading from a paper.
It was not clear when or where the video was made. There was no comment from Damascus.
Husameddine identified himself as an “assistant” to the oil minister and a member of the ruling Baath Party and said he has served 33 years in various government positions. Cabinet ministers in Syria may have several assistants known as deputies.
The defection came as international condemnation on Assad mounts.
It’ll be one more tidbit that will add to the feeling that Assad has to go.