Hama's new governor takes oath before Syrian president

Arab World Materials 11 July 2011 16:21 (UTC +04:00)

The newly appointed governor of the embattled Hama, Anas Abd-Alrazeq, was sworn in Monday before Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the official SANA news agency reported.

Anas Abd-Alrazeq replaced Ahmed Khaled Abdul-Aziz, who was fired earlier this month and whose sacking has fueled protests in Hama as he was considered by many as a sympathizer to protesters there, DPA reported.

The new governor holds a degree in internal medicine from the Faculty of Medicine at the Damascus University, and also a diploma in the diseases of sleep. He is the secretary general of the Baath party branch at Hama and the head of the doctors syndicate there.

In a statement carried earlier by SANA, Abd-Alrazeq expressed hopes that normal life would be restored soon in Hama, noting that the city is now in a state of relative calm.

Al-Assad, since the outbreak of protests in Syria in mid-March, has dismissed three governors as part of many other gestures made to calm down protestors demanding sweeping reforms in the country.

He has already fired the governors of the Latakia, Homs and the southern province of Daraa , which has been the epicenter of protests.

Hama has a storied history of rebellion against the Syrian leadership and was a stronghold of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, which staged a bloody rebellion in 1982. It is now witnessing the largest turnout since the eruption of protests in mid-March, and also under a self-declared general strike since last Friday.