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Syria on Saturday (August 18th) denied reports that Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa has attempted to defect, AFP reported.
State television issued a statement from al-Sharaa's office following opposition and media reports that he had fled, saying, "Mr. Sharaa has never thought about leaving the country or going anywhere."
Meanwhile, the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) said in a statement referring to al-Sharaa that "Initial reports show that there was an attempted defection, but that it failed."
Abdo Hussameddin, formerly Syria's deputy minister of petroleum and mineral resources, said that al-Sharaa has been seeking to defect.
"Sharaa's position is well-known. He has been trying to leave Syria," Hussameddin, who defected from the regime in March, told Al-Arabiya.
"But there are a series of circumstances that prevent him from leaving, especially the fact he has been under house arrest for some time," he said, adding that senior regime officials are being kept under surveillance.