Monday, August 6, 2012
Riyad Hijab is most senior civilian politician to defect since uprising against Assad began
Ian Black, Middle East editor
guardian.co.uk, Monday 6 August 2012
"....Hijab's spokesman said the defection had been co-ordinated with the Free Syrian Army, the main armed opposition group, over the two months since his appointment. That suggests there is truth to claims that the rebels have managed to cultivate significant figures within the regime whose departure may eventually help bring it down.
"The tightening of the regime circle even more closely around the Assads resembles the beginning of the end of the Gaddafi regime in Libya," said IHS Jane's Middle East analyst David Hartwell. "Although the dynamics in Syria are very different, Damascus will face the same problem of trying to explain away the desertion of senior government officials at the same time as trying to claim that its rule remains unchanged. The perception that the Syrian regime is on its last legs has now never been stronger and it is likely that other senior political and military figures in the country are asking themselves how much longer they will either be party to or allow the fighting to continue.""