| 13.7°C Belfast

Syrian defector wants to help unite opposition

Syria's most prominent defector has put himself forward as someone to unite the fractured opposition as the disparate factions try to agree on a transitional leadership if Bashar Assad's regime is toppled.

Brig Gen Manaf Tlass, a commander in the powerful Republican Guard and the son of a former defence minister who was the most trusted lieutenant of the president's father, defected in early July and flew to Paris.

He is now in Saudi Arabia, a key financial backer of the rebellion, where he told the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily that he does not see a future for Syria with his former friend at the helm. “I will try and help as much as I can to unite all the honourable people inside and outside Syria to put together a roadmap to get us out of this crisis, whether there is a role for me or not,” he said.

He said he defected when he realised the regime could not be deterred from its single-minded pursuit of crushing the opposition.

However, one European Union official familiar with Western intelligence reports, has dismissed Tlass as a “peripheral figure” in the regime, claiming he had been sidelined.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Top Videos