Assad replaces top Syrian brass after losing military base to US- and al-Qaeda-backed fighters

South China Morning Post | 1/1/2018 | Staff
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President Bashar al-Assad reshuffled his government on Monday by replacing the ministers of defence, information and industry, while heavy fighting erupted between the military and insurgents near the capital of Damascus.

State news agency SANA did not give a reason for the government reshuffle, which comes after two years of gaining ground with the help of Iran-backed fighters under the cover of Russian air strikes.

Day - Loss - Installation - Unit - Strike

But it followed one day on from the loss of a military installation and its attached military unit to a strike by US-backed rebels and al-Qaeda-linked fighters.

SANA said army commander General Ali Ayoub had been named defence minister, replacing Fahd Jassem al-Freij who had held the post since 2012. Ayoub had previously been the army chief of staff since July 2012.

Imad - Sarah - Information - Minister - Mohammed

It also said that Imad Sarah has been named information minister, while Mohammed Mazen Youssef was chosen as the new minister of industry.

On Sunday, after three days of clashes, pro-government forces and their military base were captured near the Damascus suburb of Harasta.

Observatory - Human - Rights - Activist - Mazen

Both The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Syria-based activist Mazen al-Shami said Monday’s fighting was concentrated inside the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: South China Morning Post
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