Rebels take a break from fighting to have iftar in Aleppo. The army and rebels deployed more forces in and around Aleppo as a ‘decisive’ battle for control raged. Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: Abdul Latif Al Dabbagh, Syrian Ambassador to the UAE, has defected and is currently in Doha Qatar to join his wife, Lamya Hariri, Syrian ambassador to Cyprus, who defected on Tuesday.

Dabbagh, who is originally from Amouda, which is a Kurdish town in Hasakeh governorate, has been planning to make this move since the inception of the political turmoil in Syria, a former Syrian official who declined to be named told the Gulf News.

“As far as I know Dabbagh, he became anti-regime in the aftermath of the mass killing of children in southern parts of Syria; yet, the decision was not easy to take until he settled the living conditions of his family members,” the official said.

“This incident was a sign of protest on the massacres committed against civilians,” the official remarked.

His wife, Lamya Hariri, daughter of major general Mohammad Al Dhakil Al Hariri, former head of the immigration department, also defected on Tuesday and left Cyprus to Doha to joint her husband and children. She is from Abta town in Dera’a governorate.

Hariri has been at the Syrian Embassy since November 2010. She is understood to have left on a flight from Larnaca International Airport to Dubai for a holiday, then flown to Qatar at some point over the past few days.

She has become the second Syrian diplomat to quit and flee to Qatar.

Both Dabbagh and Hariri are expected to be interviewed by Al Jazeera TV.

Syria’s ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf Al Fares has defected from the Syrian government on July 12 and announced that he will support the opposition in a protest against the “suppression of protests” in Syria.

Al Fares is a tribal chieftain and one of the most prominent officials who defected from the Syrian government after Brigadier General Manaf Tlass, son of former Syrian Defence Minister Mustafa Tlas announced his defect.

Arab foreign ministers had announced in November 2011 suspending the membership of Syrian in the Arab League in a bid to resolve the crisis the warn torn country which resulted in a call to withdraw Arab ambassadors from the Syrian capital, Damascus


Influx of refugees to Jordan:

Nayef Al Zidan, Jordan’s ambassador to the UAE, told the Gulf News: “We have about 140,000 refugees. The refugees are either Syrian or non-Syrians who were living in the country.”

Al Zidan warned that “if political unrest continues, we expect to receive about a million refugees from Syria.”

“We deal with this issue from a humanitarian aspect, but at the same time all have a responsibility to protect Jordan from any violations. The influx of Syrians places a pressure on Jordan’s already limited resources,” the ambassador stressed.

He added that Jordan did not officially open a camp for Syrian refugees. But NGOs across the kingdom have been leading efforts to provide the Syrians with accommodation, food and health care services.

“We have repeatedly appealed for help from the international community to provide services for the Syrians in Jordan since every refugee cost more than US$100 per day,” concluded the ambassador.