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Syrian PM defects to Jordan 06.08.12

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Published on Aug 7, 2012

Britain's former Ambassador to Syria, Sir Andrew Green, has told British Forces News that getting involved in the Civil War in Syria would be' like sticking hands in a meat grinder.'

Sir Andrew said the situation in Syria was so complicated that outside intervention would be a massive mistake.

He was speaking after it emerged the Syrian Prime Minister, Riad Hijab, had defected with his family to Jordan.

His spokesman read a statement from Mr Hijab, saying he had left what he called a terrorist regime and joined the revolution.

Activists say two other ministers have also defected. But they say the finance minister, Mohammad Jalilati, was arrested as he tried to escape.

This has been denied on Syrian state television, which broadcast a phone interview it said was with Mr Jalilati, saying he was working as usual in his office.

In Aleppo, there has been fierce fighting, with anti-Government Forces claiming 13 people have been killed, as the Assad regime appears to be preparing for a major assault to drive them from the country's second city.

A bomb has exploded on the third floor of the Syrian state TV and radio building in the capital, Damascus, Syrian television reports.

Three people were reported wounded and the explosion caused some damage but state TV continued broadcasting.

Hours later, state TV reported that Prime Minister Riad Hijab had been fired. Appointed two months ago, he had been seen as a staunch loyalist.

The Jordanian government has confirmed he has defected.

However, there has been no immediate explanation of his sacking from President Bashar al-Assad's government so soon after he was made prime minister.

His replacement, Omar Ghalawanji, will reportedly lead a caretaker government.

The developments come as Syria's army tries to recapture the city of Aleppo.

Rebel forces took over several areas of Damascus in recent weeks, but the army has since regained control of the capital.

For more info: www.bfbs.com/news/worldwide/syrian-pm-defects-jordan-59567.html

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