Whereabouts of Syrian ex-premier unclear

2012-08-06 12:24
AFP

AFP

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Beirut – There were conflicting reports on the current whereabouts of Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab who reports say has defected to the opposition, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday.

"Some sources say he has arrived in Jordan, others say he was arrested before making his escape," said the Britain-based watchdog's director, Rami Abdel Rahman.

The reports of his defection come as state media reported his abrupt sacking just two months after his appointment.

If confirmed, it would be highest-ranking defection of the 17-month uprising.

State television reported that Deputy Prime Minister and Local Government Minister Omar Ghalawanji had been appointed caretaker premier.

"Prime Minister Riad Hijab has been dismissed," it said in a terse report

According to the state-owned Tishrin newspaper, Hijab, who was a leading Sunni Muslim in Assad's minority Alawite-dominated regime, presided over two meetings at the local government ministry on Sunday to discuss "measures to redevelop areas that have been cleansed of armed terrorists".

Hijab was only appointed on 6 June following a widely boycotted 7 May parliamentary election that was hailed as a centrepiece of reform by the Assad regime but dismissed as a farce by Arab and Western governments.

Read more on:    riad hijab  |  bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

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