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Screengrab of Riad Hijab Screengrab

Syrian Prime Minister defects to Jordan

State-run television in Syria says Riad Hijab has been sacked but opposition sources say he has fled to Jordan.

SYRIAN PRIME MINISTER Riad Hijab, his family, two ministers and three army officers defected to Jordan on Sunday night, the Syrian opposition in the kingdom told AFP.

“Hijab, members of his family, two ministers and three army officers crossed the border into Jordan last night following coordination between the Syrian opposition and the (rebel) Free Syrian Army,” opposition Syrian National Council member Khalid Zein al-Abedin told AFP.

“The Free Syrian Army helped all of them cross the border. They are now in a safe place inside the kingdom. Several other army officers defected and arrived in Jordan last night.”

Another member of the Syrian opposition confirmed the details of the defection.

“The opposition and the Free Syrian Army are coordinating now to help more army officers and officials defect to Jordan in the coming few days,” he told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Zayed Hammad, head of the Ketab and Sunna Society, a charity that cares for more than 50,000 Syrians who fled violence said his staff had seen Hijab entering Jordan on Monday night.

“Aid workers from the society saw Hijab, his family and others cross the border last night and I can confirm that,” said Hammad, whose organisation cares for more than 50,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan.

- © AFP, 2012

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