World Bulletin/News Desk
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree to form a new government on Saturday, shaking up many cabinet posts but keeping the heads of the interior, defence and foreign ministries, state television reported.
The reappointment of Defence Minister Daoud Rajha will quash widespread rumours, previously denied by the government, that he had been assassinated by rebels who are struggling to bring down President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
The 16-month uprising, which has faced a brutal government crackdown, is increasingly being termed a civil war by foreign observers. Assad argues he is pursuing reforms even as he fights a revolt he says is led by foreign-backed militants.
But critics say Assad's appointment of Riyad Hijab as prime minister earlier in June was a sign the president was turning to hardline loyalists. Hijab formed the new government given Assad's approval, Syria TV said on Saturday.
Hijab, a former agriculture minister, is a committed member of Assad's Baath Party, which has ruled Syria for nearly four decades since his father Hafez al-Assad took power in 1970.
Most of the top government posts were given to Baathist loyalists. Critics consider the cabinet to be largely symbolic and say power in Syria remains in the hands of Assad and his close inner circle of family and security force elites.
The new cabinet follows a May 7 parliamentary election which Assad said was part of the path to reform but the opposition boycotted as a sham, insisting the president must step down.
Other than Rajha, the ministers to retain their post were Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem.
Several new ministries were created in the new cabinet.
The moderate Qadri Jamil, a centrist who has said he is speaking both to the government and to rebels, was appointed minister of internal commerce and consumer protection. The post is newly formed and likely to be mostly ceremonial.
The march headed towards the museum where a memorial for the victims of the attack will be inaugurated
Slovenian President Borut Pahor has said ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's official visit Monday, Slovenia supports Turkey's EU membership
Arab leaders said Saudi-led operation would continue until the Iranian-allied Houthis withdraw. They also announced the formation of a unified military force to counter growing security threats from Yemen to Libya.
Collation of results continues and final results are not expected until Monday
Tens of thousands of Tunisians marched through the capital in a show of solidarity against museum attack on Sunday, hours after the government said its forces had killed nine members of a group suspected of carrying out this month's Bardo Museum attack.
According a port official, a Chinese warship approach the port of Aden to evacuate nationals.
An Israeli court has issued an order to demolish Palestinian village Susya and relocate its residents. The village was built even before the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967.
At least 15 people wounded from anti-aircraft missiles shrapnel used by Houthis against warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition in Western Yemen
According to a Yemeni NGO Mwatana Organization for Human Rights (MOHR), at least 27 civilians – including 15 children – were killed in Yemen's Sanaa province.
Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has fired Ahmed Ali Saleh who is son of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Tunisian security forces have killed a senior Algerian suspected who they accuse of helping orchestrate the Bardo museum attack which targeted foreign tourists, Tunisia's Prime Minister Habib Essid said on Sunday.
According to tribal sources, 40 Houthis killed in clashes with tribesmen.
Netanyahu says expected Iranian nuclear deal even worse than Israel feared.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says, Russia will help Palestine become an independent state with its capital in East Jerusalem.
Thousands of Palestinian athletes turned out for the third Palestine Marathon on Friday
Palestinian faction Hamas said in a statement, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responsible for Palestinian divisions.