DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria’s President Bashar Assad named a brand new international minister on Sunday, appointing Deputy Overseas Minister Faisal Mekdad to switch a longtime diplomat who handed away final week after holding the put up for greater than a decade.

Walid al-Moallem died on Nov. 16 on the age of 79. In the course of the previous decade’s rebellion towards Assad, he grew to become one of many nation’s most outstanding faces to the skin world.

Like his predecessor, Mekdad is a profession diplomat who has been a detailed confidant of Assad and a harsh critic of the opposition throughout Syria’s almost 10-year battle. The conflict has killed almost half one million individuals and displaced half the nation’s inhabitants.

Mekdad has represented Syria in conferences all through the world since turning into deputy international minister in 2006.

Assad additionally appointed Bashar Ja’afari, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, to take over the function of deputy international minister. Bassam Sabbagh, a senior Overseas Ministry official, was named to the U.N. put up.