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China Daily Website

Syria's new PM sworn in before Assad

Updated: 2012-08-11 19:21
( Xinhua)

DAMASCUS - Syria's newly appointed Prime Minister Wael al-Halki was sworn in Saturday before the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the state-run SANA news agency said.

Assad appointed al-Halki Thursday after sacking the former breakaway Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who defected last Sunday and sought refuge in Jordan.

Halki, a 48-year-old gynecologist, acted as secretary-general of the Baath party's branch in the southern Daraa province between 2000 and 2004. He was appointed as head of the doctors' syndicate in 2010 and later served as health minister.

The defection of Hijab, despite attempts by the government to downplay its significance, is considered as a humiliating blow to the recently-formed government.

On June 6, Assad issued a decree entitling Hijab, former agriculture minister, to form the new government. Hijab announced the formation of his cabinet on June 23.