Syrian President Assad appoints new Prime Minister

Friday, August 10, 2012
Wael al-Halqi new appointed
Prime Minister of Syria
Damascus: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has appointed Wael al-Halqi as a new prime minister, state television reported on Thursday.

Wael al-Halqi, the former health minister, will replace Riyad Hijab, who defected last week and is now in Jordan.

The appointment came as fighting continued in the country's second city Aleppo and as Iran hosts a diplomatic meeting about Syria.

Al-Halqi, 48, is from the southern province of Deraa, where the 17-month uprising against Assad erupted.

He held the post of secretary general of the Deraa branch of the Ba'ath party from 2000 to 2004. He was appointed head of the doctors' syndicate in 2010.

In related news, fighting raged in Aleppo amid contradictory reports about who controlled the strategic Salaheddine neighborhood.

The state news agency claimed on August 8 that Assad's force had regained control of the Salaheddine neighborhood, the main rebel area in Aleppo. But activists said rebels were still putting up a fight there on August 9.

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