General Manaf Tlass, a key defector from the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad, said in a statement sent to AFP Tuesday that he was in Paris and called for a "constructive transition" in his country.
"I sincerely hope that the blood stops flowing and that the country emerges from the crisis through a phase of constructive transition that guarantees Syria its unity, stability and security, as well as the aspirations of its people," he said in the statement.
"I am ready like any other Syrian, with no other ambition, to fulfill my civic duty to contribute to a better future for my country, as much as I can, and like all those... who have already made many sacrifices," he said.
Tlass's defection was announced by sources close to the regime on July 6.
He is the highest-ranking military officer to have abandoned the Syrian regime, as a member of the inner circle of power and a childhood friend of Assad.
"I cannot but express my anger and pain at seeing the army pushed to carry out a fight that is against its principles, a fight directed by6 security forces and in which the people, including the soldiers, are the victims," he said.
"When I took a position and refused to take part in the security action, I was isolated, accused and even labeled a traitor," he said.
"But my conscience, my deep conviction, pushed me to challenge this destructive action and to distance myself."
A general in the elite Republican Guard charged with protecting the regime, Tlass is the son of former defence minister Mustafa Tlass, a close friend of Assad's late father and predecessor, Hafez.
Several sources had said earlier that he was believed to be in Paris, where much of the Syrian political opposition is based.