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Syrian Minister Announces Defection on YouTube

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The growing ranks of Syria's disaffected appeared to get a high-profile addition Wednesday, when a man identifying himself as Abdo Hussam el Din, the country's deputy oil minister, announced in a video posted on YouTube that he was defecting from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

"I am joining the revolution of this noble people who will not accept injustice," says the man in Arabic. "I've been part of this government for 33 years and I have acquired many titles, and I do not want to retire serving the crimes of this regime." He appears to be the same man pictured on the government's oil website, which says he was appointed deputy oil minister in August 2009.

"I decided to join the voice of the righteous despite the notion that this regime will burn my house and harass my family and will invent many lies," he adds.

The announcement came on the same day that the United Nations emergency relief chief met in Syria with top government officials and visited an area ravaged by weeks of government attacks, describing it as devastated. Read more on CNN....

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