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Syria: Prime Minister defects; state tv 'bombed'

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Syria: Prime Minister defects; state tv 'bombed'


Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab has fled to Jordan, according to officials in Amman.

His spokesman said in a statement on Hijab’s behalf:

“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.”

His decision to leave prompted Syrian officials to announce that he had been sacked. The former agriculture minister was promoted to PM following elections in May.

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

Finance Minister Mohamed Jalilati is said to have been arrested to prevent his defection.

The latest political drama happened as a bomb reportedly ripped through Syria’s state TV and radio building.

According to the country’s national media, the explosion – which took place on the third floor of the broadcast centre in central Damascus – caused several minor injuries.

State broadcasting services are still running though, even playing music throughout a news report to announce the blast. The attack is seen as highly symbolic as TV and radio are key propaganda tools of the Syrian regime.

The blast came two days after the Syrian army claimed it had total control of the capital once again.

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