Middle East

Syria minister: Defection statement

Syria's Deputy Oil Minister Abdo Hussameddin has announced his defection from President Bashar al-Assad's government - the highest ranking civilian official to quit since the uprising began. Here is the text of the statement he made in a YouTube video:

"In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate: Peace be upon you! I am Engineer Abdo Hussameddin, Deputy Syrian Oil and Mineral Resources minister and member of the 11th national conference at the Arab Socialist Baath party, I announce my defection from the regime and my resignation as Deputy Oil and Mineral Resources minister.

I will not be participating in the national conference that will take place in a few days' time and I am resigning from the Arab Baath party.

Image caption Abdo Hussameddin: "Victory to the Syrian people and their revolution"

I declare that I am joining the revolution of this nation, which did not and will not accept injustice, despite the brutality of this regime and its supporters, to crush the people who are seeking their freedom and dignity.

I tell this regime, which claims to own the land, you do not own the land. You only own the place of the tank that is being mobilised by your brutality to kill innocent people and divide the country through checkpoints of terror instead of being checkpoints of security and safety for the people.

You brought one year of sadness and misery to those you claim to be your people and deprived them of their basic needs and humanity. You brought the country to the brink of an abyss through your stubbornness and arrogance while you are cut off from reality.

The country's economy has almost collapsed. In this regard, I would like to send a number of messages.

I would like start with those people who sacrificed everything, including their blood, for the sake of dignity and express my support for them and their revolution.

I also advise the Alawites and I say to them, you belong to the Syrian nation, the regime is doomed, therefore do not participate in the killing of your own people.

I salute the Free Syrian Army - which refused to side with the butcher against the victim - and I call on them to be united to end this unjust regime.

My message to the [Syrian] National Council (the coalition of anti-Assad groups) is that you need rise to the trust invested in you by the people, to overcome the hurdles still used by other countries to reach the objectives.

My message to China and Russia is that your support for the regime shows you are far from being friends of the people; you are participating in the killing of the people. We have the information to prove that, and it will be provided to the appropriate parties.

My message to those in the public sector is this: I have been in government for 33 years and held many posts, I do not want to end my career serving the crimes of this regime, this is why I chose to join the voice of justice, although I know that they will burn my house, persecute my family and fabricate lies against me.

I advise my colleagues - and after one year of silence over these crimes - to abandon this doomed boat, which is about to sink. The blood of the martyrs will not forgive the collaborators who use the pretext of being just employees carrying orders.

Victory to the Syrian people and their revolution. Long live free Syria!"

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