AMMAN — Former Syrian prime minister Riyad Hijab, who fled to the Kingdom last week, said the Syrian regime is falling apart economically, financially and morally, and is in control of only 30 per cent of the country.
In his first appearance since he arrived in the Kingdom a week ago, Hijab called on the Syrian regime army to follow the model of the Egyptian and the Tunisian armies in siding with the people against the regime, and to carry out its duty in protecting the country and the people.
“The Syrian regime is in control of only 30 per cent of the Syrian territories. It is falling apart by all means and I urge the Syrian opposition and the Free Syrian Army to unify their efforts and ranks in the coming stage,” Hijab said at a questions-free press conference in which he read a short statement amidst a heavy security presence.
Hijab underscored that Syrian President Bashar Assad is surrounding himself with Iranian advisers, adding that during his two months in office as prime minister he was not a decision maker and did not have a say whatsoever in what was happening on the ground in his country.
“[Bashar] Assad takes decisions individually. He consults with the government but when taking decisions he refers to the Iranian advisers who tell him what to do,” Hijab said, stressing his defection was decided after he could no more “tolerate the brutality of the regime against the innocent Syrian citizens”.
Hijab said he is not interested in any political role in the post-Assad era, and that he aspires to be “a soldier serving Syria”.
Meanwhile, Hijab highlighted the agony of his three-day journey moving from town to town inside Syria until he made into Jordan.
He expressed his appreciation to the Syrian fighters who provided him with protection until arriving safely at the Jordan border where he was received by Jordanian officials and later transported to a safe place with 35 of his family members, brothers and sisters.
“I am very grateful to His Majesty King Abdullah, to the Jordanian government and to our brotherly Jordanian people for their extreme kindness and hospitality in hosting me and my compatriots who were forced to leave their country and their property in pursuit of safety and security, after they escaped from the violence and bloodshed in Syria,” he said, expressing appreciation as well to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for their support of the Syrian revolution and Syrian people.
The Hijabs were taken from the northern border to a “safe location” in Amman after they crossed into the Kingdom at dawn last Wednesday.
He did not take any question from the journalists-packed room at the press conference, but promised to do so in the future.