Syrian vice-president Shara has not defected: State TV
DAMASCUS (AFP) - Syrian Vice-President Faruq al-Shara has not defected, state television said on Saturday, citing a statement from his office after media reports that he had fled.
"Mr Shara has never thought about leaving the country or going anywhere," said the television. Mr Shara himself was not seen.
Mr Shara, 73, is the most powerful Sunni Muslim figure in the minority Alawite-led regime of President Bashar al-Assad and has served in top posts for almost 30 years.
The rebel Free Syrian Army said in a statement that Mr Shara, who has been vice-president since 2006, had tried to defect to the opposition. "Initial reports show that there was an attempted defection, but that it failed," the FSA's military council said.