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Syrian premier defects to Jordan

06 August 2012 13:10 (Last updated 06 August 2012 17:10)
Three more members of the Syrian government followed the country's pm to defect and join anti-Assad movement.

DAMASCUS (AA) - August 6, 2012 -Syria's prime minister, Riad Hijab, has defected to Jordan.
According to an opposition news network, Hajib, agriculture minister from April 2011 to June 2012, stepped down on his own will and defected to Jordan to join the anti-Assad movement.   
Earlier, Syria's state-run television said Hijab has been removed from his post.
Hijab was appointed as prime minister on June 23. 
Omar Ghalawanji was named as temporary premier to replace Hijab.
Hijab's stepping down came just hours after a bomb attack hit the third floor of the state TV headquarters in Damascus, which caused material damage and left three people with light injuries.

More high level Syrian officials defect to join rebels, opposition says

ISTANBUL (AA) - August 6, 2012 - Three more members of the Syrian government followed the country's prime minister on Monday to defect and join anti-Assad movement, Syria's opposition National Council, or SNC, said.
Head of SNC's Foreign Relations Bureau Mohammad Sermisi said that a fourth cabinet member, Finance Minister Mohammad Jlailati, was taken under custody before he could flee the country.
Sermisi did not disclose identities of those three cabinet members who he said defected safely and joined the uprising.
Syria's state-run television said earlier Monday that the country's prime minister, Riad Hijab, was removed from his post. 
According to an opposition news network, he stepped down on his own will and defected to Jordan to join rebel forces as the most senior civilian politician since the uprising against the regime began 17 months ago. 
Former premier has been planning for the last two months his defection in collaboration with the Free Syrian Army, Mohammad Otri, a spokesman for Hijab who had also defected from the regime, told Al-Jazeera television, adding ten of Hijab's relatives also fled the country. 
 "Most of Syrian's politicians and bureaucrats are held hostage in Damascus. Hijab's defection will bring about the defection of others. Many other cabinet members want to flee but they fear for the lives of their families," Otri said.

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