The defection of Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab is another blow to the regime of Bashar Assad.
President Assad has suffered several defections of government officials in recent days, but none higher than Mr. Hijab.
Military and political figures have escaped the regime without weakening it too much. But when a prime minister flees, it sends a message that the leadership itself is in disarray.
Yet it turns out that the prime minister had been offered a job that he could not refuse. Mr. Assad told him two months ago to take the job or die.
Running a government in that manner, particularly during a time of civil war, will not work. Things fall apart.
Every defection is another door closed for Assad and another one open for the rebels, said Mustafa Alani of the Gulf Research Center based in Geneva. It may not be the tipping point for the regime, but each breakaway is another crack.
There is a sectarian divide as well: Mr. Hijab is a Sunni, the majority Muslim sect in Syria. The uprising has been led by Sunnis. President Assad is a member of the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
It has been suggested that Mr. Hijab and other prominent defectors found it hard to watch the bloodshed and hardline policies carried out by Mr. Assads minority Alawite community.
But one does not have to be any particular religion to deplore the regimes bloody tactics.
When the civil war is over, President Assad will have much to answer for.