Monday, August 6, 2012

Syria appoints caretaker prime minister following Hijab’s dismissal

Omar Ghalawanji

Source: Press TV

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has appointed Omar Ghalawanji to head a caretaker government after the country’s Prime Minister Riad Hijab was sacked from the post.

Deputy Prime Minister and Local Government Minister Omar Ghalawanji was appointed caretaker premier on Monday.

While opposition activists claim that Hijab has defected from the government, Damascus sources say he was dismissed before defection. The 46-year-old Hijab was appointed Syrian prime minister on June 6 following the country's parliamentary election, which was held as part of President Assad's reform program.

Hijab is currently in Jordan and according to his spokesman he would leave for Qatar within days.

Meanwhile, fierce clashes between the Syrian army and armed insurgents fighting against the government continue in the northern city of Aleppo. According to Syrian sources, a large number of insurgents have been killed during clashes in Aleppo's Salaheddin neighborhood.

But despite the clashes, Aleppo’s city center is reported to be calm. The neighborhood housing the state television and radio is also quiet and under government control. The armed insurgents had earlier claimed that they’d taken control of TV building after heavy battles.

Syrian troops have also discovered a terrorists' hideout in Rukin al-Deen neighborhood in the capital.

Syria has been the scene of deadly unrest since mid-March, 2011 and many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

The West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of killing protesters. But Damascus blames ''outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups'' for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.

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