The Syrian army is continuing with its offensive on rebels in the city of Aleppo in spite of the prime minister’s defection.
For now rebels are holding out amidst intense shelling but the government claims to have surrounded the city with up to 20 thousand troops and a full-scale assault is said to be imminent.
Riyad Hijab fled to Jordan on Monday denouncing what he called the terrorist regime of President Bashar al-Assad. State TV reported that he had been sacked. The US said it shows Assad’s collapse is fast approaching but some analysts think it will make little difference.
“Clearly any defection of a senior regime or government official is embarrassing and damaging for the credibility of the Syrian regime,” said David Hartwell, Middle East expert, of IHS Jane’s.
“However Ryad Hijab is unlikely to have been a member of the close Assad family unit. So in terms of security and military policy on the ground, in terms of how the Assad regime survival depends from here on forward, it’s unlikely to have that much impact,” he continued.
Meanwhile claims of atrocities continue. A man in Aleppo told a news agency that he was one of a dozen men taken blindfolded and handcuffed from a prison cell by government troops.
He claims the soldiers said they were being taken to see a judge but that they were instead taken to waste ground and shot.
The agency could not verify the report but said residents nearby had backed up certain details.