Jordan says defecting Syrian minister won't stay


In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrians inspect the scene after a bomb ripped through the third floor of the state TV building in Damascus, Syria, on Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. The bomb shattered several offices and wounded several employees, Syrian TV said. (AP Photo/SANA)

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan's information minister denies that the Syrian prime minister has defected to the neighboring kingdom and another government official says the premier will be leaving Amman soon for another country.

The second official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said Monday the defector Riad Hijab would be heading out of the Jordanian capital to Qatar or Turkey. Earlier, the same official confirmed Hijab had defected from Syria and was in Jordan along with his family.

Hijab's spokesman said the prime minister had defected, but declined to say where he was. However, he spoke from Amman.

Information Minister Sameeh Maaytah's denial that the minister had defected to Jordan reflects the kingdom's concern over angering its more powerful neighbor.
Associated Press
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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