Nawaf Fares
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Syrian ambassador Nawaf Fares defects to opposition

12 July 2012 Last updated at 04:24 BST

Syria's ambassador to Iraq says he has defected to the opposition.

Nawaf Fares is the first senior Syrian diplomat to abandon the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The move comes just a week after a Syrian general from a powerful family close to President Assad also defected.

Meanwhile Western nations are urging the UN to threaten tough sanctions against Syria as the Security Council opens talks on the future of its observer mission in the country.

Barbara Plett reports.