Bashar al-Assad reshuffles Cabinet as chemical weapons are used
President Bashar al-Assad has carried out a reshuffle of his Cabinet. The news comes a day after reports came through that more than 1,000 people were killed by rockets launching chemical agents into the Damascus suburbs in the Ghouta region on Wednesday.
Iran has supported its ally by saying that the attacks were probably carried out by the rebels whilst the United Nations is calling on the Syrian government to allow UN inspectors into the area. With ever more splintered groups on the rebel side and a greater number of militia on the government side it is clear that President al-Assad has lost control of his country. Nevertheless the reshuffle looks as though he believes he is still in control.
Meanwhile, France’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, has stated that a “reaction with force” might be necessary if Syria is shown to have used chemical weapons against civilians. The Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said that a “red line was crossed” and that international action was now necessary.
The official report of the reshuffle as published on the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) website is as follows:
“Damascus, (SANA)_President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday issued decree No. 310 for the year 2013 on making a cabinet reshuffle as follows:
Dr. Qadri Jamil: Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs
Dr. Malek Ali: Minister of Higher Education
Dr. Khodr Orfali: Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade
Kamal Eddin Tu’ma: Minister of Industry
Samir Izzat Qadi Amin: Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection
Bishr Riyad Yazigi: Minister of Tourism
Dr. Hassib Elias Shammas: Minister of State, replacing Najm Eddin Khreit.
Dr. Qadri Jamil was born in Damascus in 1952. He holds a PhD in economy from Moscow University (1984). He is a lecturer at the Damascus-based Economic and Social Development Planning Institute. He is the Head of the Popular Will Party. He held the position of Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection in the former cabinet.
Dr. Malek Ali was born in Tartous in 1956. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physical and electronic sciences from Lattakia-based Tishreen University (1980) and a PhD in physics from Ukraine (1986). He is a lecturer at the Physics Department in Homs-based al-Baath University. He was Dean of the Faculty of Physics (1996-1999) and Dean of the Faculty of Sciences (2000-2004). He was Secretary of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party at al-Baath University (2004-2009). He was appointed as governor of Sweida and later of Quneitra. Last July, he was elected as member of the Regional Leadership of al-Baath Party. He is married with a son and a daughter.
Dr. Khodr Orfali was born in Deir Ezzor in 1956. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Damascus University and a PhD in economics from the Soviet Union (1989). He is a lecturer at the Faculty of Economy from Aleppo University. He is married with three children.
Kamal Eddin Tu’ma was born in Damascus in 1959. He holds a Diploma in economy and trade from Damascus University (1985). He worked as planning director and assistant manager of the Chemical Establishment (1995-2002). He has worked as a director general of the General Establishment of Chemical Industries since May 2013. He is married with four children.
Samir Izzat Qadi Amin was born in Damascus in 1966. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in law from Damascus University (1994). He occupied the position of secretary of Damascus Governorate’s Council (2003-2007). He was member of Damascus Governorate’s Executive Office for housing sector (2007-2010) and for finance sector.
Bishr Riyad Yazigi was born in Aleppo in 1972. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Informatics Engineering from Aleppo University (1995). He is a member of the People’s Assembly for Aleppo city. He is married with three children.
Dr. Hassib Elias Shammas was born in Aleppo in 1957. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in medicine from the Soviet Union (1982). He was specialized in thoracic surgery and respiratory diseases at Kyiv University (1986). He is married with two children.”