Riad Hijab's defection is the highest-ranking of the 17-month uprising
Defecting Syrian prime minister Riad Hijab, seen here in 2008, and his family have crossed the border into Jordan, Information Minister Samih Maayatah said, clarifying previous reports he had done so at the weekend. © Louai Beshara - AFP/File
Riad Hijab's defection is the highest-ranking of the 17-month uprising
AFP
Last updated: August 8, 2012

Defecting Syria Prime Minister arrives in Jordan

Defecting Syrian prime minister Riad Hijab and his family crossed the border into Jordan on Wednesday morning, Information Minister Samih Maayatah said, clarifying previous reports he had done so at the weekend.

"Hijab and members of his family entered Jordan during the early hours of Wednesday," Maayatah, also government spokesman, told AFP without elaborating.

The rebel Local Coordination Committees of Syria said Hijab "entered Jordanian territory through barbed wire after having been trapped in (neighbouring) Daraa province following the announcement of his defection."

On Monday, a Jordan-based member of the opposition Syrian National Council, Khalid Zein al-Abedin, had said Hijab, several members of his family, two ministers and three army officers had crossed over the previous night night.

Abedin said the defection came after "coordination between the Syrian opposition and the (rebel) Free Syrian Army."

Another member of the opposition had corroborated that, saying, "the Free Syrian Army helped all of them cross the border ... last night (Sunday)."

Hijab spokesman Mohammad Otri said on Monday the former premier was to "leave Jordan for Qatar within days."

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