Assad appoints former health minister as PM
Moscow, Aug 9 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has appointed former health minister Wael al-Halqi to the post of prime minister.
Halqi was appointed following the defection of the previous prime minister earlier in the week, Al Arabiya news agency reported.
Former prime minister Riyad Hijab surfaced with his family in Jordan, saying he had defected from the Assad regime in Damascus and joined the opposition.
Before he appeared in Jordan, Syrian state television reported that Hijab was sacked from his post without specifying the reason why.
Halqi, born in 1964, replaced acting premier Omar Ghalawanji, who was appointed as the caretaker after Hijab's defection.
The new prime minister comes from Syria's southern province of Deraa, where the 17-month-old popular uprising against Assad's rule began.
Halki graduated from Damascus University's faculty of medicine in 1987. He is married and has four children.
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