August 14, 2012
President Bashar Assad controls less than a third of Syria and his power is crumbling, his former prime minister said on Tuesday, in his first public appearance since he defected to the opposition this month.
Riyad Hijab told a news conference in Jordan that the morale of Syrian authorities was low after grappling for 17 months to crush a popular uprising and an armed insurgency against Assad.
“The regime is collapsing, spiritually and financially, as it escalates militarily,” he said. “It no longer controls more than 30 percent of Syrian territory.” Hijab, a Sunni Muslim, was not in Assad’s inner circle. But as the most senior civilian official to defect, his flight after two months in the job looked embarrassing for the president.