Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa, the subject of recent defection rumours, is "in a very safe place in Syria", according to a Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander.
In an interview published Wednesday (August 22nd) in Kuwait's Al-Rai newspaper, Col. Riad al-Assaad also said that other officials close to Syrian President Bashar Assad are co-ordinating with the FSA so they can defect.
Media reports circulated last weekend that 73-year-old al-Sharaa, who has served in top government posts for almost 30 years, had defected to Jordan.
Syrian state television immediately denied the allegations, quoting a statement from al-Sharaa's office as saying, "Mr. al-Sharaa has never thought about leaving the country or going anywhere".
Abdo Hussameddin, Syria's former deputy minister of petroleum and mineral resources told Al-Arabiya that al-Sharaa has been seeking to defect but is under house arrest.