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Monday, August 6, 2012

Syrian PM defects to Jordan: reports media

Amman: Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab has defected to Jordan, a Jordanian official source said on Monday, prompting Syria to announce he had been sacked and replaced by a caretaker premier. "Hijab is in Jordan with his family," said the source, who did not want to be further identified. Hijab's defection was one of the most high profile desertions from President Bashar al-Assad's political and military circles. On Sunday, al Arabiya television reported a senior Syrian intelligence officer had also defected to Jordan. Hijab, a Sunni Muslim from Syria's Sunni province of Deir al-Zor, was also a ruling Baath Party apparatchik. State television said Omar Ghalawanji, who was a deputy prime minister as well as minister for local administration, would lead a temporary caretaker government. Assad had appointed Hijab, a former agriculture minister, as prime minister in June following a parliamentary election which came after more than a year of violent protests against Assad's rule.

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