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Syria's deputy minister for oil defects in YouTube video

Abdo Hussameldin announced he was defecting in a YouTube video, making him the first high ranking official to abandon the Assad regime since the uprising began a year ago this month.

A still from the video where Abdo Hussameddine says he is joining the opposition
A still from the video where Abdo Hussameddine says he is joining the opposition
Image: Screengrab via YouTube

THE DEPUTY MINISTER for oil in Syria has announced his defection from the regime in a YouTube video and said that he is joining the opposition.

Abdo Hussameldin is the first government minister to publicly leave Bashar Assad’s regime since the uprising against the ruling party began one year ago this month.

In the video, which has not been verified, the man read from a piece of paper and said that he was resigning from the ruling Baath Party.

“I, Abdo Hussameddine, deputy oil and mineral resources minister, announce my defection from the regime and resignation from my post… and declare that I am joining the dignified people’s revolution,” he said.

He criticised the attacks on civilians by the Assad regime which have intensified sharply in recent weeks.

You have inflicted on those you claim are your people a full year of sorrow and sadness, denied them their basic rights to life and humanity and pushed the country to the edge of the abyss

Hussameddine said that he had worked in various government positions for 33 years and did not want to end his life “servicing the crimes of this regime,” adding that the Syrian economy is “near collapse”.

The video was uploaded late yesterday evening:

Meanwhile Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has pledged €500,000 to humanitarian agencies working on the ground in Syria.

Yesterday the Red Cross confirmed that it has been granted entry to the city of Homs which has become a flashpoint in the uprising.

The UN has said that more than 7,500 people have been killed in recent weeks as the government has launched a crackdown on its own citizens protesting against the Assad regime.

- Additional reporting by the Associated Press

Aid team gains entry to struggling region of Homs in Syria >

Foreign Affairs committee to discuss situation in Syria today >

UN humanitarian chief heads to Syria >

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