Syria says vice-president has not considered leaving

BEIRUT - Syrian state television said on Saturday Vice President Farouq al-Shara had never considered leaving Syria, a statement apparently aimed at denying reports that he had defected.
"Farouq al-Shara has never thought for a moment about leaving the country," it quoted a statement from Shara's office as saying. The statement came two days after a cousin of Shara announced his defection, and overnight reports that Shara had tried to defect to neighboring Jordan.