Syrian PM defects from Assad government
Riad Farid Hijab, the Syrian prime minister, has announced through his spokesman that he is joining the opposition, after state television reported that he was sacked this morning.
The former prime minister arrived in Jordan after being smuggled across the border, Jordanian authorities confirmed to Al Jazeera on Monday.
"I announce today my defection from the killing and terrorist regime and I announce that I have joined the ranks of the freedom and dignity revolution. I announce that I am from today a soldier in this blessed revolution," Hijab said in a statement read in his name by spokesman Muhammad el-Etri.
Etri also denied that Hijab had been sacked, saying that the government had made the announcement of his dismissal after officials realised that the prime minister had fled the country.
Etri said that the defection was planned "for months", and was executed in conjunction with the Free Syrian Army.
The former prime minister encouraged other Syrian officials to defect in the wake of his announcement, Etri said, adding that with his departure other, less senior, officials "have no excuse not to defect".
"This defection has been being planned for more than two months. He was given two options: to either take the office of prime minister or be killed. He had a third option in mind: to plan his own defection in order to direct a blow to the regime from within and today he is declaring his defection," he told Al Jazeera.
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This top Baath party official seems to be forced to be PM a while ago. He announced he will leave the position and leave the regime. The governments response it typical "its a conspiracy, funded by Saudi Arabia". Typical. The regime is slowly showing signs that it will crumble. Soon hopefully.
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