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Syria

Prime Minister defects others expected


Published 6th August, 2012

The Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab has defected, apparently to Jordan, to join the revolution according to his spokesman. His family has left the country with him.

Prime Minister Hijab only took on the role of prime minister a few months ago after the general election, but apparently was coerced into the role and was always planning to ‘join the revolution’.

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported the defection as a sacking and announced an interim successor as follows:

“Eng. Omar Ghalawanji, former first deputy prime minister, on Monday was designated as a caretaker premier.

Earlier, former Prime Minister Riyad Hijab was dismissed from his post.”

There are rumours that other Cabinet ministers and a senior intelligence official may also have fled the country but as yet these are unconfirmed.

SANA has been forced to deny reports of further defections as follows:

“Minister of Finance, Mohammad Jleilati, on Monday dismissed media reports which claimed that he defected as “untrue”.

“I am a Syrian citizen before being a minister,” Jleilalti told the Syrian TV by phone, stressing that he was speaking from his office and that he is carrying out his duties freely and transparently.

The minister said that misleading media has been spreading baseless rumors with the aim of undermining the citizens’ confidence in their state, indicating that he was attending a meeting for economic committee at the cabinet building.

Minister Jleilati added that such instigative rumours aim at provoking economic collapse in Syria, underlining procedures taken by the government and Ministry of Finance to protect the Syrian economy.

He condemned the criminal attack against the building of the General Organization of TV & Radio as “terrorist act” aimed at destabilizing Syria.”

As indicated above, Syrian state television was targeted in a bombing early this morning although the station was able to keep on broadcasting. Meanwhile the Syrian armed forces are continuing their attacks on Free Syrian Army forces holed up in Aleppo.

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