New Prime Minister for Syria
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has named Riyad Hijab as his new prime minister in what may be the waning days of his administration.
More than 13,500 Syrians – mostly civilians – have been killed in the growing civil war that began in March 2011 with the Arab Spring uprising, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Assad has so far broken every agreement made with every regional and international body that has attempted to intervene to stop the government-driven violence, in a manner similar to that of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi -- whose regime was overthrown and who then was murdered by the rebel forces who captured him.
The announcement of Hijab's appointment was made on state-run television and confirmed by Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi on the Twitter social networking site in a tweet that said, “Dr. Riyad Hijab is the new prime minister of Syria and will form the new government.”
Hijab, who has served as Minister of Agriculture since April 2011, is 46 years old and a top member of the country's ruling Baath Party.
A steadfast Assad loyalist, Hijab is a resident of the primarily Sunni Muslim city of Deir al-Zour, where the United Nations hopes to open one of three field offices to facilitate movement of humanitarian aid.
Hijab holds a PhD in engineering, is married with four children, and has served in the past as the governor of Quneitra province, near Israel's northern border.
The appointment came following a vote by the country's new parliament, which entered office on May 7 in elections that were boycotted by opposition groups.