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Syria VP appears, killing rumors of defection

The vice president had been off the radar for weeks.

Syrian state media today announced a meeting between the nation’s long-missing Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa and Iranian officials, ending speculation that al-Sharaa had defected to join opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, reported Reuters.

“I am with the Syria Vice President. In Damascus. He has not defected,” SKY News’ Foreign Affairs Editor Tim Marshall said on Twitter, according to SKY

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The news quells rumors that al-Sharaa had taken off for Jordan and joined the rebel movement locked in a months-long  fight for control of Syria in violence that has taken some 20,000 lives, said the Associated Press.

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Al-Sharaa had not been seen in public in several weeks, but his representatives and Jordanian authorities had denied reports of his defection several times, according to AP

Syria’s state-run SANA news agency said Al-Sharaa will meet with a parliamentary delegation from Iran, a country that supports Assad, reported Reuters.