Azerbaijan, Baku, Aug. 9 / Trend A.Taghiyeva /
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday appointed Minister of Health Wael Al Halaqi as new prime minister of the country, the Syrian television reported.
Former Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab, appointed to this post two months ago, defected to the opposition and fled to Jordan with his family. Two ministers of the Syrian government also fled with him.
Anti-government protests have continued in Syria for about 17 months.
According to UN, the total number of victims of the conflict in Syria has exceeded 17,000 people. About 230,000 people became refugees. About three million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. The Syrian authorities say that they oppose the well-armed militants.