Report: Syria won't change position 'even if there is World War III'
By Alastair Jamieson, Staff writer, NBC News
will not change its position "even if there is World War III," its
deputy foreign minister reportedly said Wednesday – even as activists
claimed that another prominent member of the Assad regime had defected.
Syrian government will not change position even if there is World War
III. No Syrian can sacrifice the independence of his country," he
reportedly told AFP.
"Syria has taken every measure to retaliate against an aggression," he added.
comments came as Reuters reported that former Syrian defense minister
General Ali Habib, a prominent member of President Bashar Assad's
Alawite sect, had defected and was now in neighboring Turkey.
However, Syrian state television denied the report and said Habib was still at his home in the country.
Habib has managed to escape from the grip of the regime and he is now
in Turkey," Kamal al-Labwani, a senior member of the opposition Syrian
National Coalition told Reuters from Paris.
"I was told this by a Western diplomatic official," Reuters quoted Labwani as saying.
Habib's defection is confirmed, it would be the highest ranking figure
from the Alawite minority to break with Assad since the uprising against
him began in 2011.