Skip to content.
Updated at 8:07 pm on 12 July 2012
Syria's ambassador to Iraq has defected to the opposition and urged other senior Syrian politicians and members of the military to do the same.
Nawaf Fares is the first senior Syrian diplomat to abandon the government of President Bashar al-Assad since a violent uprising began 16 months ago.
He is from Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria, the scene of a ferocious onslaught by government forces.
The move comes just a week after Syrian General Manaf Tlas, from a powerful family close to Mr Assad, also defected, the BBC reports.
Mr Fares confirmed his defection in a statement broadcast on the social networking site Facebook and al-Jazeera TV.
With Syrian revolutionary flags behind him, he read out the statement saying he was resigning both as Syria's ambassador to Iraq and as a member of the ruling Baath Party.
Meanwhile, Western nations are urging the United Nations to threaten tough sanctions against Syria.
They want a 10-day sanctions ultimatum to be part of a Security Council resolution on the future of the UN's observer mission in the country.
A new resolution must be passed before the mission's mandate ends on Friday next week.
Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand
Audio is categorised based on the frequency of the programme it was heard in. Click on the headings below to access the programmes. For the most recently published audio, go to the latest audio page.
Streams are in Windows Media format. Mac and Linux users may need to install additional software. Get help with audio
A selection of music interviews, reviews, videos, concerts, sessions, and performances.
Downloads and podcasts are available for selected programmes. Our podcast page has a complete list of feeds.
Help on using online audio: formats, software, podcasts, downloading, and troubleshooting.