World Bulletin / News Desk
Former Syrian prime minister Riyad Hijab said on Tuesday that President Bashar al-Assad's government is falling apart and controls only 30 percent of the country.
In his first public appearance since defecting to the opposition, Hijab told a news conference in Jordan that the government's spirits were low after struggling for 17 months to crush the revolt against Assad's rule.
"I tell you out of my experience and the position I occupied that the regime is collapsing, morally, materially and economically. Militarily it is crumbling as it no longer occupies more than 30 percent of Syrian territory," he said.
Hijab did not elaborate on that assertion, and took no questions from reporters.
It has been hard to independently determine the extent of territory in rebel hands as much of the fighting has occurred in outlying towns and rural areas and media access to Syria is restricted. But Assad has lost swathes of territory along Syria's northern and eastern border and fighting has weakened his hold on larger cities such as Aleppo and Homs.
Hijab added: "Oh devoted revolutionaries, your revolution has become a model of effort and sacrifice for the sake of freedom and dignity."
Hijab, who like much of the opposition comes from Syria's Sunni Muslim majority, was not part of Assad's inner circle. But as prime minister and the most senior civilian official to defect, his departure dealt a symbolic blow to the government, which is dominated by Assad's minority Alawite sect.
His defection along with that of Syria's ambassador to Iraq, both tribal figures from Deir al-Zor, boosted opposition morale but the military reality on the ground has not changed, with aerial and ground bombardment keeping rebels in check.
Hijab urged officers in the military to defect and join the opposition. He also called on rebels to work harder to unify their fractious ranks.
"Oh men of the Free Syrian Army, unify your ranks as all hopes hang on you, you are the best fighters of this world," said Hijab, who took no questions from reporters.
Syrian authorities said they had dismissed Hijab before he fled, but he told the news conference in Amman that he resigned and defected to the opposition, referring to the Assad government as an "enemy of God".
"It is my duty to wash my hands of this corrupt regime," he said.
Meshaal, 60, was elected the head of Hamas’ political bureau in 1996
Opposition forces now stand 15 kilometers away from Hama city, which has a military airport
Palestinian prisoners announce three-day hunger strike in protest against Hamdouna's death
The Security Council was set to meet Sunday to discuss the upsurge in violence since the Syrian army announced an offensive to retake the rebel-held east of the devastated city.
More than 900 square kilometers have been cleansed of extremists in northern Syria, according to the Turkish army
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says hard to believe US-led coalition forces forgot locations during Sept. 17 airstrike
Egyptian authorities have not yet released any official statement on the reported arrests
Saturday’s verdicts are still subject to appeal
Facing the Senate Armed Services Committer, General Joseph Dunford and Defense Secretary Ash Carter reported on the ongoing military operations and admitted that removing Assad was not a priority for the US
Residential districts pounded by airstrikes, killing and injuring hundreds, with toll expected to rise with survivors claiming the attacks were akin to doomsday
Mr Lavrov laid the blame on the US for failing to control the rebel groups it backs saying there was no other alternative for Syria except for the US-Russia agreement
The Syrian White Helmets have been recognised for "outstanding bravery, compassion and humanitarian engagement in rescuing civilians".
PKK/PYD extremist organizations force people to join, Syrians says.
Residential parts of city’s Al-Ansari, Al-Sokkari, Tariq al-Bab, Al-Shear districts pounded by airstrikes
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran has the US on Thursday of not complying with the landmark nuclear agreement that took effect in January, and that their credibility would suffer if the accord were not honored.
"An assailant attempted to carry out a stabbing attack at the Elias junction, near the community of Kiryat Arba," a military statement said.