x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Syrian president forms new government, with many familiar faces

The decree also created a number of new ministries, including internal trade and consumer protection, foreign economy and trade, and housing and construction development.

DAMASCUS // Syrian President Bashar al Assad issued a decree on Saturday forming a new government, state television said, less than two months after controversial parliamentary elections boycotted by the opposition.

"President Bashar al Assad has issued Decree 210 forming a new government under prime minister Dr Riad Hijab," the television said.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem will remain in his post, as will the defense and interior ministers, it said.

The decree also created a number of new ministries, including internal trade and consumer protection, foreign economy and trade and housing and construction0 development.

Hijab, the former agriculture minister, assumes the role of premier amid ongoing violence in the country. At least 15 people were killed by troops across Syria on Saturday, while 116 people, including 69 civilians were killed on Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

International envoy to Syria Kofi Annan earlier urged the world to raise the level of pressure on both the Syrian opposition and the regime to try to end the violence that monitors say has claimed 15,000 lives since March 2011.