Assad names new defense minister
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday replaced his defense minister, Hassan Ali Tourkmani. According to a report published by SANA news agancy, the president "issued on Wednesday decree number 244 for 2009, naming Lt. General Hassan Ali Tourkmani as Assistant Vice President with the rank of Minister." Tourkmani has been serving as defense minister since 2004.
Assad named Lt. General Ali Mohammad Habib Mahmoud as the new Minister of Defense. Habib was promoted to the ministerial post after serving as chief of staff.