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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Syrie : le Premier ministre d’Assad rejoint l’opposition

by N/A (not written on original article)

Syria: Assad’s prime minister defects and joins the opposition

Translated Wednesday 8 August 2012, by Sarah Noyce and reviewed by Henry Crapo

The Syrian prime minister, Riad Hijab, has fled to Jordan. He has announced joining the opposition, according to his spokesperson speaking on AlJazeera television from Qatar. At the same time, a new Syrian army general, accompanied by other high-ranking officers, has crossed the border into Turkey.

The Syrian prime minister, Riad Hijab, along with his family, two cabinet ministers, and three army officers have defected and have been staying in Jordan since Sunday evening. His spokesperson announced on AlJazeera that his decision was due to the “war crimes and genocide” being carried out in Syria. Riad Hijab had been at the head of the Syrian government since June when he was appointed by Assad, following the general election in May which was boycotted by the opposition. State-TV announced on Monday that Hijab has been sacked. Omar Ghalawandji, formerly the deputy prime minister, has been put in charge of managing a transition government.

This is the most difficult defection yet for the regime, made all the more so by news that a new Syrian army general has arrived in Turkey to join the opposition fighters, accompanied by five high-ranking officers and more than thirty soldiers. Some four hundred Syrian civilians, most of them women and children, followed the soldiers and have also arrived in Turkey.

Since July, the Syrian regime has lost numerous diplomats, but particularly significant was the loss of the General, Manaf Tlass, a high-ranking army officer and childhood friend of the president.

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