Opposition smuggle Riad Hijab out of country in humiliating blow to Assad regime
Loveday Morris , Kim Sengupta
Tuesday 07 August 2012
"The Free Syrian Army yesterday promised that more high-level defections were coming as the prime minister escaped from the country, dealing a humiliating blow to President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
In a complex and daring operation carried out by the Free Syrian Army, Riad Hijab - the most senior political official to defect so far - and the families of his nine siblings were smuggled out of the country to Jordan. Once safely out, the former prime minister, a Sunni from the Deir Ezzor region, described himself as a "soldier of this blessed revolution" and accused the regime of genocide.
While the position of prime minister wields little real power in Syria, the defection remains a coup for the opposition, and one they hope will spur further senior officials to turn.
"We are currently in contact with many officers from the army and state security who want to defect, including a senior general from the Alawite community," said FSA spokesman Fahad al-Masri. "The coming weeks will see many more."....."