Syrian prez appoints new PM as clashes rock Damascus
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appointed a new PM on Wednesday in the wake of a boycotted parliamentary election, as rebels went on the offensive in Damascus.world Updated: Jun 07, 2012 00:20 IST
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appointed a new PM on Wednesday in the wake of a boycotted parliamentary election, as rebels went on the offensive in Damascus.
The appointment of agriculture minister Riad Hijab as premier comes less than a week after a defiant Assad dismissed allegations that his government had a hand in last month’s Houla massacre which saw dozens of women and children killed, triggering an international outcry.
Hijab, 46, replaces Adel Safar, who had formed his government in April last year, a month after the Arab Spring-inspired uprising against Assad’s regime erupted drawing a bloody crackdown from the authorities.
Rebels fighters went on the offensive in and around Damascus on Tuesday night, battling regime forces at intelligence headquarters and at several checkpoints, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
According to the watchdog’s figures, at least 168 soldiers have been killed in the past week, including 76 at the weekend.
China, Russia against regime change
In a joint statement issued after two days of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leaders, China and Russia said on Wednesday that they are strongly opposed to intervention and regime change in Syria.
Russia and China will join forces to push forward UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan for Syria, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said.