Newspaper: Syrian Presidential Palace Spokesman Arrested
Informed sources close to the Syrian leadership on Wednesday said the president’s press spokesman, Jubran Kuriyyeh, had been arrested, the UAE daily Al Bayan reported.
The sources said Kuriyyeh, 72, had made contacts with Maronite leaders in Lebanon for the purpose of cooperating to issue a Maronite newspaper for which he would serve as editor-in-chief.
The daily on Wednesday reported that Damascus saw Kuriyyeh’s action as undermining Syrian policy towards Lebanon.
“His contacts with the Maronites, in an attempt to become editor-in-chief of the proposed newspaper, are considered a violation of his professional duties and role as a state spokesman,” the daily added.
The Lebanese Al Nahar daily on Wednesday cited informed sources as saying that Kuriyyeh’s employment at the Syrian Presidential Palace was terminated last Wednesday upon the expiry of his contract.
On the other hand, sources close to Syrian authorities said that President Bashar Al Assad had ended Kuriyyeh’s employment because he had not circulated Assad’s speech in English and French during the pope’s visit to Damascus on May 5, the newspaper said.
“This led to a misunderstanding by the Western countries of the Syrian president’s speech,” said Al Nahar, adding that this version of events had not been officially confirmed.
Kuriyyeh became chief of the Syrian presidential palace press bureau in 1981. He continued in this role after Bashar took office. Reports said that the Syrian president had extended the spokesman’s contract after his visit to Teheran last November - Albawaba.com