Syrian President appoints new PM after defection

Syria President Bashar al-Assad has appointed Health Minister Wael al-Halki as new Prime Minister.

Zeenews Bureau

Beirut: Amid raging conflict between Syrian government troops and rebels in the city of Aleppo, President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday appointed new Prime Minister to replace the one who defected.

Reports claim that Assad has appointed Health Minister Wael al-Halki as new Prime Minister.

Riyad Hijab defected as Prime Minister and crossed into Jordan at dawn on Wednesday after two days of hiding inside his homeland.

Halki, born in 1964, is from the southern province of Deraa where the 17-month-old uprising against Assad erupted. He replaces caretaker Premier Omar Ghalawanji who was appointed hours after Hijab`s defection.

Meanwhile, the fighting continues a day after the Syrian regime claimed in state-run media that its forces have fully regained control of Salaheddine.

The Local Coordination Committees and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday`s shelling was most focused on Salaheddine, as well as a northeast district and areas in the city`s southwest.

Syria launched a ground assault on Wednesday on rebel-held areas of Aleppo, the country`s largest city and key commercial hub.

The regime`s blistering attacks on rebel positions in recent weeks seem to have chipped away at the opposition`s grip on its strongholds in the city.

(With Agency inputs)

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