DAMASCUS, June 23 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian President Bashar al- Assad ordered a cabinet shake-up Saturday, bringing in 20 new ministers but keeping three major portfolios unchanged, namely, the ministers of defense, foreign affairs and interior.
The cabinet reshuffle came in light of the new constitution and after the election of a new parliament.
According to a presidential decree broadcast by the Syrian Television, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, Minister of Interior Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar and Minister of Defense Dawood Rajaha, will remain at their posts.
Syria's state-run SANA news agency said new Prime Minister Riyad Farid Hijab has announced the naming of his new cabinet that has brought in 20 new ministers and founded three new ministries, namely, the ministry of national reconciliation affairs, the ministry of domestic trade and the ministry of water resources.
On June 6, Assad has asked the former agriculture minister, Hijab, to form a new government.
The new cabinet combined two opposition figures, Ali Haidar, member of the People's Will Party, who took the post of minister of national reconciliation, and Qadri Jamil, the head of the People's Will Party who was also named as the minister of the domestic trade.
The new government has been formed amid worsening situation in the country as the 16-month-unrest has veered toward armed insurgency. It's expected to do little to stem the simmering violence.