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 council will vote Tuesday on the text drafted by the United States, Britain and France that would punish 11 Syrians and 10 entities linked to chemical attacks in 2014 and 2015.
Moscow is turning blind eye to regime ceasefire violations, Syrian opposition figure tells Anadolu Agency from Geneva
The deal between Aramco and Malaysia's Petronas for the $27 billion project will be signed on Tuesday, the prime minister said.
For the past few days players past and present have been franticly "briefing reporters, providing leaks, and besmirching their opponents, some directly and some obliquely," as Maariv daily put it on Monday.
Around 30 people still trapped under rubble, says a civil defense official
Authorities say "terrorist bombing" struck a police bus in eastern Bahrain
Tasnim news agency said the Dehlaviyeh, a laser-guided missile, had also been successfully tested.
Opposition fighters declare capture of Tadif town from Bashar al-Assad regime
At times in the long and rambling letter, published in English and Farsi on his website, he appears to find a kindred spirit in Trump.
Since the 2011 uprising, the Arab world's most populous nation has suffered a slump in key tourism revenues, slowing economic growth and investment, double-digit inflation and falling foreign currency reserves.
In Johnson's first visit as foreign secretary to Egypt, he also discussed boosting trade, with UK company investments having reached $30 billion in 2016, according to Britain's Foreign Office.
The visit is the first by a Saudi foreign minister to the Iraqi capital since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003
19-year-old medic Elor Azaria was found guilty of manslaughter for the murder of 21-year-old Palestinian Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in the head after he had already been disarmed and injured in an incident in al-Khalili last year.
Homs has been under the full control of the government since May 2014 when rebels withdrew from the centre under a UN-brokered truce deal.
Nuclear weapons require uranium enriched to 80 percent or more.
King Salman's first stop will be close ally Malaysia, which the late king Abdullah visited 11 years ago.