Following are excerpts from an interview with Nawaf Al-Sheikh Fares, the Syrian ambassador to Iraq who recently defected, which aired on the Al-Jazeera network on July 12, 2012.
Nawaf Al-Sheikh Fares: I have supported the revolution since day one, but due to personal circumstances, the political circumstances, and my mission, very few people were aware of this. They hear me now. I have supported the revolution since day one.
Throughout my career with the government, I've been in the opposition.
Interviewer: We may not be able to go into your personal circumstances, but what about the political circumstances? What prevented you from defecting from the beginning, if you supported the revolution from the start?
Nawaf Al-Sheikh Fares: I supported the revolution from the beginning, and I have always been against the faulty practices that led Syria to where it is today.
But the regime made many promises to enact reforms, so I waited for a long time. But this was all an illusion. There is no reform, just more killing and destruction.
I would like to remind Iraqi PM Nouri Al-Maliki: You know full well what Bashar Al-Assad did to Iraq and to the Iraqi people. Your security agencies know full well the extent of the damage and the killings – thousands of Iraqis were killed – at the hand of Bashar Al-Assad.
The Iraqi PM, the security agencies, and most of the Iraqi politicians are fully aware of this and have documentation of it. Personally, I have a lot of criticism toward the [Iraqi] prime minister to taking a stand that runs counter to the way things really are.
He knows full well what Bashar Al-Assad did against him personally, against the Iraqi people in its entirety, and against the Shiites in particular.
Interviewer: What did he do? [Al-Maliki] may know, but we don't.
Nawaf Al-Sheikh Fares: He killed thousands of them.
Nawaf Al-Sheikh Fares: By means of car bombs, explosions, terrorism, Al-Qaeda, organizations…
Interviewer: Bashar Al-Assad sent them to Iraq?
Nawaf Al-Sheikh Fares: He opened the door and made it easy for them. "Gentlemen's agreements" were made between Al-Qaeda and Bashar's regime that the Iraqi people would be killed first. He practiced how to kill on the Iraqis.