The vice president of Syria has reportedly defected from the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

According to a broadcast by Al-Arabiya TV, Farouq al-Shara has called on the Syrian army to join "the revolution" against Assad's rule.

The statement was read by a man idenitifed as a relative of al-Shara, a Sunni Muslim who is not part of the Shia Alawaite elite that runs the country.

If true, it would represent one of the highest level defections from Assad’s government. Last week, former Prime Minister Royad Hijab defected from Damascus and ios now reportedly in Jordan.