Middle East

Profile: Abdo Hussameddin, Syrian ex-deputy oil minister

From his graduation from the al-Baath University, with a degree in petroleum engineering, through a 33-year career within the Syrian state apparatus, Abdo Hussameddin's career has displayed all the hallmarks of a government insider.

So his video denunciation of the government of President Bashar al-Assad will be especially encouraging for the rebels.

According to his CV, published on the websiteSyrian Oil and Gas News, he was born in 1954, is married with four children, and is said to be fluent in English and French.

It is unclear whether he is a member of the Alawite sect, the minority from which many members of Syria's governing elite are drawn, but he is known to be a member of the ruling Baath Party.

He rose through the ranks of the nationally owned oil company, starting as a field drilling engineer, then held a series of technocrat posts (one is described on his CV as "head of studies of craters").

In 2007 he was made a government adviser on oil refineries with responsibility for liaising with the EU and United Nations.

He was eventually elevated to the government by President Assad, who appointed him deputy oil minister in June 2009.

While not a household name in Syria - there are said to be dozens of deputy ministers in the government - he is the first member of the regime to publicly announce his defection, and the highest ranking civilian to do so.

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