Syrian Prime Minister Defects

Two or three cabinet leaders may have joined him, contradicting reports that he had been sacked.


Syria's Prime Minister Riad Hijab defected on Monday, less than two months into the job, along with two, perhaps three, other Cabinet ministers, according to the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC). As has become customary, President Bashar Assad's regime had a very different take on the development, insisting that Hijab had been sacked and had not jumped ship.

Hijab's own words, however, made it clear which version was true. "I announce today my defection from the killing and terrorist regime and I announce that I have joined the ranks of freedom and dignity," Hijab said in a statement read on Al-Jazeera by his spokesman. "I announce that I am from today a soldier in this blessed revolution."