Assad replaces communications, religious affairs ministers

No reasons given for changes but communications minister has been criticized for blocking several Web sites.

Assad 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Assad 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday replaced Syria's communications and religious affairs ministers, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported. Assad issued a decree naming Imad Abdul-Ghani Sabbouni as minister of communications, replacing Amr Nazir Salem. He also replaced Religious Affairs Minister Mohammad Ziyad al-Ayoubi, who held the post since October 2004, with Mohammad Abdul-Sattar al-Sayed, SANA said. Sabbouni had been Salem's adviser, while al-Sayed was al-Ayoubi's deputy and the mufti of the coastal Tartous province in northern Syria. The news agency did not give a reason for the Cabinet changes. Local Syrian Web sites in recent months had been critical of Salem, who had been nominated to the post in February 2006, for blocking some Web sites including and the Arab online newspaper as well as online social networking site Facebook. Possible reasons for al-Ayoubi's replacement were not known. Assad's last Cabinet reshuffle was in February 2006, when he ordered a major shake-up including promoting Farouk al-Sharaa to vice president and Walid Moallem to foreign minister.