Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab has defected from the Bashar al-Assad regime and joined those opposition his rule, his spokesman said on Monday.
"I announce today my defection from the killing and terrorist regime and I announce that I have joined the ranks of the freedom and dignity revolution. I announce that I am from today a soldier in this blessed revolution," Hijab said in a statement read in his name by the spokesman.
"Hijab will go to Doha, where international media are based. He will leave for Qatar tomorrow, the day after or after a few days," spokesman added.
According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, Hijab has defected and left Syria for Jordan.
For its part, the official Syrian television said that Hijab has been removed from office.
SANA news reported that the Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab resigned. It did not elaborate.
The official Syrian media said that Omar Ghalawanji, deputy prime minister and minister of Local Government, was appointed to temporarily handle current affairs.
Assad had appointed Hijab, the former agriculture minister, as the Syrian premier on June 6, following parliamentary elections.
Meanwhile, an official source in the Jordanian capital Amman confirmed that Hijab had gone over to the opposition seeking to topple Assad after fleeing across the border with his family.
Hijab's defection was one of the most high profile desertions from Assad's political and military circles, Reuters reported. On Sunday, three officers from political intelligence in Damascus, including two brothers from the clan of the Sunni vice president Farouk al-Shara, defected and are taking refuge in Jordan, Col. Kassem Saad Eddine, spokesman of the Free Syrian Army, conveyed.
Furthermore, a new general of the Syrian army also arrived Monday in Turkey to join the opposition. He was accompanied by five senior officers and more than 30 soldiers, Reuters news reported.
More as it becomes available.