Accessibility links

Breaking News

Senior Syrian Official Says He Has Defected

Syrian soldiers stand on their armored vehicle in Hama on August 10.
The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may have suffered its first high-profile defection during the five-month uprising.

The attorney general of Hama said in a video posted on YouTube that he had stepped down in protest at the crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

Adnan Mohammad al-Bakkour said he resigned because security forces had killed 72 imprisoned protesters in Hama just before a military assault on the city on July 1.

He also rejected official Syrian media reports that he had been kidnapped.

Bakkour said at least 420 people were killed in the assault, with many buried in mass graves in public parks.

Bakkour said he would give more details once he gets out of Syria.

His current whereabouts are unknown.

Security forces still remain in and around Hama, and raided homes there on August 31, looking for activists taking part in protests.

Earlier, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the Syrian leader has "done the irreparable" in his bloody crackdown.

The French president also expressed disappointment that the UN Security Council hasn't taken stronger action against Syria.

compiled from agency reports