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In what appears to be the highest-level defection to date, Syria's Prime Minister has fled the country

By Salon Staff
Published August 6, 2012 10:20PM (EDT)

While reports about the alleged Oak Creek killer's troubled past surfaced in the U.S. media, Syria's Prime Minister Riyad Farid Hijab escaped the war-ravaged country, according to opposition and official Syrian sources. Mr. Hijab, the highest ranked official to defect since the conflict began, fled to Jordan with several ministers and military officers, the New York Times reported, citing opposition figures in the country.

The defection might mark yet another turning point in the ongoing conflict, according to White House press secretary. During today's press briefing, Carney told reporters that there was no reason to doubt reports about the defection. "The momentum is with the opposition and with the Syrian people," he added. "It's clear that these defections are reaching the highest levels of the Syrian government and Assad cannot restore his control over the country because the Syrian people will not allow it.  The quickest way to end the bloodshed and suffering of the Syrian people is for Assad to step aside to enable a peaceful political transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Syrian people."


Salon Staff

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