Syrian opposition elects Hitto as provisional premier

By REUTERS
March 19, 2013 20:05

ISTANBUL - Syrian opposition leaders chose Western-educated technocrat Ghassan Hitto as provisional prime minister in what they hope will be the first step to fill a power vacuum arising from a two-year-long revolt against President Bashar Assad.

Hours after the appointment of Hitto, who has lived for decades in the West and is little known in Syria, Syria's government and rebels accused each other of a deadly chemical attack near the northern city of Aleppo.

If confirmed, it would be the first use of such arms in the conflict, in a region that the opposition is hoping to use as a launchpad to delivering services in large swathes across the country no longer controlled by President Bashar Assad.

At a meeting of the Syrian National Coalition in Istanbul that stretched into the early hours of Tuesday, Hitto received 35 votes of around 50 cast by coalition members.


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