Britain's Foreign Office says that Syria's most senior diplomat in London has defected in protest against the "violent and oppressive" acts of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Khaled al-Ayoubi, the charge d'affaires in London, told British officials that he was not willing to represent Assad's regime any longer.
Al-Ayoubi joined the Syrian diplomatic service in 2001.
His first posting was in Greece as consul from 2003 to 2008.
Defections are becoming a growing problem for Assad's regime, which has launched a bloody crackdown on a revolt in which, activists say, more than 20,000 people have died since March 2011.
Based on reporting by AP and AFP