Khaled al-Ayoubi, the most senior Syrian diplomat serving in London has resigned, because he was “no longer willing to represent” Bashar al-Assad’s regime
By Alex Spillius, Diplomatic Correspondent – July 30, 2012
Khaled al-Ayoubi’s resignation made him one of the most prominent Syrian diplomats to turn their back on the Syrian president during the 16-month rebellion that has claimed more than 15,000 lives. He has not yet defected – officially switched his allegiance to the Syrian opposition – although is understood to be considering his next move.
A statement from the Foreign Office said Mr Ayoubi had informed it of his decision on Monday morning.
It read: “Mr al-Ayoubi has told us that he is no longer willing to represent a regime that has committed such violent and oppressive acts against its own people, and is therefore unable to continue in his position.
“Mr al-Ayoubi was the most senior Syrian diplomat serving in London. His departure is another blow to the Assad regime. It illustrates the revulsion and despair the regime’s actions are provoking amongst Syrians from all walks of life, inside the country and abroad.
“We urge others around Bashar Al-Assad to follow Mr al-Ayoubi’s example; to disassociate themselves from the crimes being committed against the Syrian people and to support a peaceful and free future for Syria.”
He is understood to be in a safe location in Britain with his immediate family.
Mr al-Ayoubi joined the Syrian diplomatic service in 2001. His first posting was in Greece as Consul from 2003 – 2008.
Troops in Syria meanwhile continued their assault on the city of Aleppo, with shells and machine guns.
The early morning bombardment was focused on the southwestern district of Salaheddin, a stronghold of the Free Syrian Army, made up of deserters and armed civilians, said the Syrian Revolution General Commission.
The army said later that it had overrun Salaheddin, although the rebels denied the claim.
The United Nations estimates that around 200,000 civilians have fled the fighting in Aleppo and that many more are trapped.
Head of UN humanitarian operations, Valerie Amos, requested that relief organisations be granted “secure access” to the northern city.