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Syria's deputy oil minister has announced his resignation, saying he is joining anti-government protesters.
Abdo Hussameddin announced his defection in a video posted on YouTube.
"I am joining the revolution of the people who reject injustice and the brutal campaign of the regime," he said.
He is the highest ranking civilian to abandon the government of President Bashar al-Assad since the uprising erupted a year ago.
"I, Abdo Hussameddin, deputy oil and mineral wealth minister in Syria, announce my defection from the regime, resignation from my position and withdrawal from the Baath Party," he said in the video, which was posted late on Wednesday.
The Syrian government has not publicaly commented on Mr Hussameddin's announcement.