Syria Live Blog
Defected Syrian PM calls government 'enemy of God'
Riyad Hijab, the former Syrian prime minister who defected to Jordan, has made his first statement to the press.
Speaking on Tuesday from Amman, the most senior-level defector of Bashar al-Assad's government, said the Damascus leadership was "decaying morally and deteriorating militarily".
Calling the government an "enemy of God", Hijab said his recent defection was of his own volition and that he was not dismissed from his post, as reported by Syrian authorities.
The defected official, saying the government only controlled about 30 per cent of the nation, went on to ask the Syrian military to follow the lead of their Egyptian and Tunisian counterparts.
Hijab also invited the opposition abroad to "unite and unify the ranks. To remain united on the same goal".
Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said Hijab, a Sunni with Baathist connections, "could be an ideal candidate if there is going to be a compromise", who could serve as a "conciliatory figure who can reach out to the Baathists".
However, Hijab said "I confirm that I do not intend to take on any office, presently or in the future".
The location of today's statement was also of importance, said our correspondent.
Jordan, fearing the conflict spilling into their territory, had "for the past 16 months, had tried as much as it could, to remain neutral", but the acceptance of Hijab's defection showed a change in the Hashemite Kingdom's stance, said Amin.
At the close of the press conference, Hijab went on to thank Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia for their support of the opposition movement.