Assad names ex-agriculture minister as new PM
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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday issued decree No. 134 stipulating for designating Adel Safar to form the new government. Last week, the Syrian leader accepted the resignation of the government chaired by Mohammad Naji Otri. Safar served as Minister of Agriculture in the former government.
Safar, 58, holds a doctorate in agricultural sciences from the French polytechnic center in France and was the dean of Damascus University's agricultural faculty from 1997-2000. He also heads the Arab Center for Dry and Arid Areas.
Meanwhile, angry protesters in the Damascus suburb of Duma chanted on Sunday anti-government slogans as they gathered for processions expected to start after noon prayers, according to a human rights activist. The processions are for the four people killed in Friday clashes, the AP reported. At least 10 people, nine of them in Duma, were killed on Friday, according to human rights activists.
The authorities said an "armed group" opened fire from rooftops on hundreds of citizens and security forces in Duma. They added that the "security forces are pursuing the members of the armed group that terrorized the citizens through firing randomly."