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.
"Some seem sensitive to this argument," Laurent Fabius and Philip Hammond wrote. "In reality, Bashar represents injustice, chaos and terror. We, France and Britain, say no to all three."
BMKG, Indonesia's meteorological agency, said the quake occurred in the middle of the ocean about 104 km northwest of East Flores.
Peshmerga forces prevent Arabs from returning to their homes in disputed territories claimed by Erbil and Baghdad, according to Human Rights Watch.
The capture of Tel Hamis was announced by the Kurdish YPG militia and confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the country's civil war.
The EU has already trained more than 4,000 Somali army soldiers since 2010 to fight insurgency in the region, EU Ambassador to Somalia Michele Cervone d'Urso said
Most of the capital's municipalities were told to be on high alert after floods killed 14 people in the city
The spokeswoman for prosecutors said there was currently no indication of involvement of a third party but the investigation was continuing.
Officials will hold more talks in Montreux, Switzerland
Italy's Chamber of Deputies voted by 300 to 45 to pass the motion presented by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party
A police spokesman said federal police captured Gomez in Morelia, Michoacan's state capital, after months of intelligence work.
Syrian fighters trained in the program are expected to fight both Daesh and Assad regime.
Opposition leaders will ask a court to block the constitution which they say was passed without a quorum last year by an assembly dominated by CCM after opposition parties walked out in protest.
Iraqi security forces seize control of al-Shohadaa neighborhood and kill 13 Daesh militants.
The vote is being held about two years ahead of schedule under a political deal brokered by South Africa, which surrounds the mountainous kingdom.
Cars with Cypriot number plates have been found to be used in Syria.
4 rescued after fiberglass vessel carrying suspected illegal immigrants from mainland overturns.