Syria's Assad names new FM to replace late diplomat

Syria’s President Bashar Assad has named a new foreign minister

DAMASCUS, Syria -- Syria’s President Bashar Assad named a new foreign minister on Sunday, appointing Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad to replace a longtime diplomat who passed away last week after holding the post for more than a decade.

Walid al-Moallem died on Nov. 16 at the age of 79. During the past decade’s uprising against Assad, he became one of the country’s most prominent faces to the outside world.

Assad also appointed Bashar Ja’afari, Syria's ambassador to the United Nations, to take over the role of deputy foreign minister. Bassam Sabbagh, a senior Foreign Ministry official, was named to the U.N. post.

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