The United States says Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab's carefully planned escape to Jordan with his extended family shows that Syrian President Bashad al-Assad's regime is beginning to crumble.
White House Press secretary Jay Carney said August 6 that "the Assad regime is crumbling from within" and predicted Assad's days are numbered.
France's Foreign Ministry said Hijab's defection to the Syrian rebels is evidence the regime is losing support due to "its choice of armed violence."
Hijab, a Sunni Muslim, was long a loyalist of Assad's Alawite-dominated Baath party.
But an aide who escaped with him says Hijab began planning his defection more than two months ago when Assad told him he had to either accept the prime minister's post "or get killed."
Analysts say Hijab's escape suggests a serious breakdown of security within Assad's inner regime.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP and AFP