Syria's Assad appoints new prime minister after defection

BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar Assad appointed Health Minister Wael al-Halki as the country's new prime minister on Thursday, after the defection earlier this week of Prime Minister Riyad Hijab.
Halki, born in 1964, is from the southern province of Deraa where the 17-month-old uprising against Assad erupted. He replaces caretaker premier Omar Ghalawanji who was appointed hours after Hijab's defection.