Syrian rebels: PM who defected visits Qatar

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Associated Press

Posted on August 18, 2012 at 6:01 AM

Updated Saturday, Aug 18 at 7:02 AM

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Syria's rebels and a relative of the former Syrian prime minister who defected from Bashar Assad's regime say he is visiting Qatar where he may reveal his future plans.

Two members of the rebel Free Syrian Army say Riad Hijab is wrapping up a three-day visit to the Gulf nation on Saturday. A relative of Hijab's says he may speak more about his plans from Doha.

All three spoke on condition of anonymity because of concerns for Hijab safety.

Hijab's defection to the opposition and his rebel-orchestrated escape to Jordan earlier this month was a significant blow to Assad.

Hijab is the highest-ranking political defector from Syria so far. Qatar is among a group of Gulf Arab nations that have backed Syria's rebels.

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