Whereabouts of Syrian ex-premier unclear

2012-08-06 12:24

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.

  • shaik.spear.1 - 2012-08-06 14:12

    If he has defected after being sacked for being useless, then he aint no high ranking defector but a useless defector with sour grapes! Good riddance!!!!The prune!

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-08-06 14:28

      The BBC knows for 2 hours already that he is in Jordan with his family. Down with the dictators.

      shaik.spear.1 - 2012-08-06 14:34

      wait for another 2hrs and see what cnn and presstv says! Down with interfering colonialist, who ever they may be!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-06 18:07

      Shaik, our man on the spot, The Syrian Defense Minisater was not that lucky, He resigned, and had his brains blown out !! It is always risky working for a terrorist , like this assad monster !!

      shaik.spear.1 - 2012-08-07 16:58

      anthony, the man that knows it all! you say its always risky working for terrorist... You say it like you've been there, done that and are suffering from ' post traumatic syndrome'!!!

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-06 16:30

    "I announce my defection today from the regime of killing and terror, and I join the ranks of the revolt," Hijab said in statement read by his spokesperson Mohammed al-Otri on Al-Jazeera news channel from Amman. "Syria is passing through the most difficult war crimes, genocide, and barbaric killings and massacres against unarmed citizens," he said.

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