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Syrian Defector: 'Regime Will Only Go By Force'

Syria's former ambassador to Iraq, who defected last week, has begun talking to the press.

In an interview with CNN, Nawaf Fares said he supported military intervention in the country because the regime of President Bashar Assad "will only go by force."

CNN's Ivan Watson asked Fares if he wanted to send a message to Assad.

"To Bashar al-Assad, I say you don't know history," he said. "Two wills cannot be defeated — the will of God and the will of the people. So learn from history. Have mercy on the poor people of Syria and history will curse you for the crimes you committed in Syria."

In an interview with the BBC, Fares, the most senior official to defect, was darker, saying Assad is willing to fight to stay in power "even if he will have to eradicate the entire Syrian people."

Fares also said that Assad was a "like wounded wolf" and if he continues to be cornered, he might use chemical weapons.

"There is information, unconfirmed information, that chemical weapons have been used in Homs," he said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.