Riad Hijab, a longtime member of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ruling Baath Party who was appointed as prime minister in June, has defected to Jordan.
Hijab, who has a PhD in agriculture, was a former agricultural minister in the government before being chosen as prime minister.
Born in 1966 in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, Hijab joined the Baath Party in 1998 and served as its head in his hometown from 2004 to 2008.
He later served as governor of Quneitra province, near the border with Israel, and subsequently as the governor of Latakia.
In April 2011, Hijab was appointed as agricultural minister, just one month after anti-government protests began.
He was appointed as prime minister in June this year, one month after parliamentary elections that were boycotted by supporters of the opposition.
On August 6, Hijab defected from the government and left for Jordan with his family.
Hijab’s spokesman told Al Jazeera that he had defected and joined the Syrian opposition.
Syrian state television said Hijab had been sacked and that Omar Ghalawanji, who was a deputy prime minister as well as minister for local administration, would lead a temporary caretaker government.