A former member of the People's Council of Syria, Nasser Al Hariri from Daraa, has fled to Jordan along with his family and large number of Syrian officers, government spokesman Samih Maaytah told AFP.
In April of 2011, Al Hariri, along with his colleague, Khalil al-Rifae, also from Daraa, resigned from parliament. He cited the regime using lethal force in killing the protesters, at the beginning of protests in Syria in mid-March 2011, as his reason.
He was a main member in the regime in Daraa. We can say that if he did not show any objection to the political system in dealing with the popular revolution, he would have been nominated to head the government. Most of prime ministers in Syria are from the city of Daraa. For example, the recent Prime Minister and Deputy Syrian President, Farouk al-Shara.
Earlier, Al Arabiya news reported, according to confirmed information from Syrian activists that a large number of officers have defected from the Assad regime and reached Jordan with the help of the Free Syrian Army. Among the officers is one brigadier general and four colonels who haven't been identified yet.
Furthermore, according to private sources, that high-ranking Syrian official who died in a Moscow hospital last week is Major General "Jamil Hassan," head of Syrian Air Force Intelligence, not Maher Assad, who suffers from many serious health problems sine the Damascus bombing.
Obviously, having this news officially confirmed is nearly impossible, since Syria does not allow foreign correspondents to cover the incidents in the country.
On the diplomatic level, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad said at a press conference in Damascus, on Thursday, that Syria will cooperate with the new international envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, to establish a national dialogue as soon as possible.
"We have informed the United Nations of our position on cooperation with Mr. Brahimi. We look forward to discover the ideas that he will propose to solve the problems here," said Muqdad.
"We will cooperate undoubtedly with Brahimi as we have cooperated with the Arab and international observers," he stressed.
Muqdad added that, the Syrian crisis had been largely provoked by foreign interference and that all Syrians, including the the opposition, should be allowed to negotiate a settlement.
On the ground, clashes broke out in Damascus Thursday, as the regime forces are conducting sweeping mop-up operations in the south of Damascus.
According to Al Jazeera TV, at night and on Friday morning, forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad shelled the Free Syrian Army posts in town of Daraya, a suburb of Damascus, using tanks, mortars and helicopters.
Locals told Reuters that regime soldiers with Shabiha gangs raided houses and used mortar bombs in the streets as artillery and helicopters continued the assault on the town.
For it's part, SANA news reported that according to regime security, a large-scale operation is currently underway in Aleppo.
Witnesses told Al Arabiya news via Skype that in Aleppo tank shells crashed into buildings as civilians returned to check their houses and grab their belongings. Hundreds of people have fled the fighting in the city and others have found refuge in mosques and schools in the area.
Also on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that at least 139 people, including 75 civilians, were killed in violence across Syria. In addition, 200 people were killed throughout the country on Wednesday, according to the same source.