August 9, 2012 (TSR) –  Former Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab arrived in Jordan on Wednesday, said Samih Maaytah, Jordan’s government spokesman and Minister of State for Information and Media Affairs.

“Hijab entered Jordan in the early hours of Wednesday along with some of his family members,” Maaytah told Xinhua, adding that he is in a safe place in Amman.

The minister did not give further details about whether Hijab will leave Jordan or not.

Hijab, who was appointed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as prime minister in a cabinet reshuffle in June, was informed of his sacking Sunday evening, according to SANA.

The reports indicated Monday that Hijab entered Jordan after he defected along with several family members and ministers, but Maaytah later denied the reports.

Al-Zoubi: Fleeing Officials Won’t Affect Much

Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said on Wednesday that Syria is an institutional state and the flight of some personalities, however high-ranking, won’t affect the Syrian state.

In press statements following the Cabinet session on Monday, al-Zoubi dismissed as untrue reports on some ministers defecting, adding that 99 per cent of the news broadcast by certain media outlets on Syrian personalities or events are desperate attempts with defined goals.

The Minister pointed out that all issues have become clear for the Syrians, and that the lack of credibility of some satellite channels is unquestionable, adding “Everyone knows the volume of misinformation and fabrication broadcast by such channels.” By our Publisher’s experience, those being called on and are leading the disinformation: Al-Jazeera (owned by the Emir of Qatar), Al-Arabiya (owned by the King of Saudi Arabia), CNN and BBC.

He said that the escalation of the attack on Syria aims to give the Syrian street the impression that there’s a major problem, which constitutes media and psychological pressure, adding that those who use such methods don’t understand the nature of the Syrians and their level of awareness and political understanding, nor do they understand that Syria is a state with deep-rooted ministries establishments and an administrative and political mentality which certain sheikhdoms and emirates lack.

“We haven’t heard anything from the former Prime Minister and he didn’t appear on TV nor said anything to the moment,” al-Zoubi noted, adding that most of Syria’s 23 million citizens can become officials since this issue isn’t related to education and degrees but rather to having a sense of responsibility and national awareness, affirming that Syria has sufficient human resources to cover the posts of all those who flee.

He also said that fleeing and leaving one’s post in an illegitimate manner is an evasion of responsibility and shows lack of political and national awareness, and is ultimately the responsibility of the one who fled, not the state or the Syrian people.

Commenting on the terrorist act which targeted the headquarters of the General Commission for Radio and TV, Minister al-Zoubi said this terrorist act is aimed at destroying the national journalism work in Syria to prevent it from conveying the truth of events.

He pointed out that the General Commission for Radio and TV enjoys the trust and pride of the Syrian people for its transparency and credibility, adding that its employees  are the sons of Syria and have various political leanings.

He stressed that the Syrian media will go on conveying the reality of events transparently and truthfully despite the financial superiority of biased media, saying “The Syrian media is working to convey and promote the truth as it should in order to be the conscience of the people and their needs.”

“Syria is doing fine, and will continue to be so… there’s absolutely no reason to worry,” the Minister concluded.

The latest media spin is on the Director of Aleppo International Airport, Engineer Basem Mansour  who denied the news broadcast by the coordinated propaganda media channels about his defection, describing this news as untrue which indicates to their failure and bankruptcy.

“I was surprised by the news broadcast by the bloody channels.. I am practicing my task here along with the staff in the Airport.. we work hourly to be ready and facilitate the movement of passengers,” Mansour said in a speech to the Syrian TV on Tuesday.

Riyad Hijab: Who is the former Syrian Prime Minister?

Two months ago — 15 months into Syria’s civil war — Riyad Hijab was named Syrian Prime Minister.

On that occasion in June, the BBC called him “a staunch Assad loyalist and a key member of the ruling Baath Party.”

Today, just eight weeks later, Riyad Hijab defected to Jordan, according to his spokesman.

“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,” said a Hijab spokesman on Al Jazeera, reading on Hijab’s behalf.

The Guardian thinks Hijab may have been influenced by increasing anti-regime sentiment in his home area of Deir al-Zour, which is near the Iraq border. Hijab, though a member of the ruling Baath party, is Sunni Muslim. Many senior defectors have been Sunni. Assad is Allawite.

We also know that Riyad Hijab is married with four children and has a PhD in agriculture. But these scraps of information hardly reveal the person who to date is the highest-ranking civilian official to defect form Assad’s beleaguered regime.

So, who is Riyad Hijab?

Here are the few other details we know so far, according to information from Al Jazeera and the BBC:

1966: Born in in Deir al-Zour, eastern Syria.

1998: Joined the Ba’ath Party in 1998.

2008: Named governor of the southern province of Qunaytira.

Date unknown: Transferred to run the Latakia, Syria governorate after protests were first reported. State media credits Hijab with negotiating an end to a sit-in.

April, 14 2011: Appointed minister of agriculture, one month after anti-government protests began.

June 2012: One month after parliamentary elections, appointed prime minister. Opposition supporters boycotted the elections.

Aug. 6, 2012: Defected from the government and left for Jordan with his family.

But local Syrians call Sunni Ex-Prime Minister as ‘snake’ and ‘spineless’. They said they didn’t fully trust him to stand by Bashar al-Assad and will betray all Syrians under pressure.



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