Industry and Information Ministers also replaced
Syria’s leader Bashar al-Assad has reshuffled his Cabinet, replacing three ministers.
In the most significant shift, Assad appointed the current Chief of General Staff, Maj. Gen. Ali Abdullah Ayoub, to succeed Fahad Jassim al-Freij, who held the post since 2012.
Mohamed Mazen Ali Yousef, who has held several positions in Syrian finance and trade, as has been named as Industry Minister. Imad Abdullah Sara, the head of Syrian radio and television since 2016, is now Information Minister.
Assad, his officials, and the regime media have given almost no information beyond the names of the appointees. No reasons have been stated for the timing and extent of the changes.
However, the outgoing Defense Minister al-Freij recently turned 67, the maximum age under the Officer’s Law of Service.
Assad Regime Backs Iranian Counterpart Over Protests
The Assad regime has backed its allies in Iran as they face protests across the country.
Syrian State outlet SANA said the regime declared full solidarity with the Islamic Republic and was sure2 “the leadership, government and people of Iran will be able to thwart this conspiracy”.
The Foriegn Ministry’s statement continued, “The Syrian Arab Republic expresses its strong condemnation and absolute rejection of the positions issued by the American administration and the Zionist entity and their agents regarding the current situation in Iran.”
White Helmets: Almost 1000 Pro-Assad Attacks on Idlib Province in 2 Weeks
The White Helmets civil defense organization says there have been almost 1000 pro-Assad attacks on opposition-held Idlib Province in northwest Syria since December 17, killing 50 people and wounding 143:
Idlib is subjected to a violent campaign of shelling by Syrian regime forces and its allies of all kinds of weapons . ( Warplanes Rockets – Barrel bombs – Artillery shelling and rockets ) .
Statistic since 17-12-2017 to 1-1-2018 @SyriaCivilDef pic.twitter.com/JvgG6PPJAS
— Idlib – Whitehelmets (@whitehelmets_sy) January 2, 2018
Despite a supposed “de-escalation zone”, the Assad regime and its allies have been attacking in an effort to re-enter the province, taking several villages in the southeast.