PARIS - The Syrian ambassador to Iraq who defected, Nawaf al-Fares, is currently in Qatar, Iraq's foreign minister told reporters on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari told reporters in Paris the defection by al-Fares on Wednesday came as a surprise, as he was loyal to the regime of Bashar Assad. Fares was the first senior diplomat to quit the embattled government.

Zebari was in Paris to inaugurate a new embassy.

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