Syria’s Assad replaces three key ministers in cabinet reshuffle

Press TV – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has partially reshuffled his cabinet by replacing three key ministers.

Syria’s official news agency, SANA, reported on Monday that Assad had issued a decree appointing new defense, industry and information ministers.

The Syrian president appointed General Ali Abdullah Ayoub as defense minister, Mohammed Mazen Ali Yousef as industry minister and Imad Abullah Sarah as information minister, according to the report.

Ayoub, a former chief of staff in the army, replaced Fahad Jassim al-Freij, who had held the post since 2012. The new information minister, Sarah, was previously the head of Syria’s radio and television.

SANA did not elaborate on reasons behind the replacements.

The ministerial reshuffle comes at a time when Syrian government troops and allied forces have been gaining more ground against terrorists over the past two years.

Syria has faced foreign-backed militancy since March 2011, when regimes opposed to him armed and financed some of his domestic political foes in an attempt to have him forcefully removed from power. Those armed factions were soon joined by an array of international terrorists pouring into the country to help oust the Syrian president.

But the government in Damascus persevered as different factions of the society rallied around Assad in the face of all-out militancy.

Syria’s allies, Iran and Russia, also offered advisory military help, and Moscow started launching an aerial bombardment campaign against extremist groups in the country in September 2015 upon a request from the Syrian government.