Syrian Opposition Elects Ghassan Hitto As Prime Minister For Rebel-Held Areas; US Slams Syrian Air Raid On Lebanon

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By Gopi Chandra Kharel | March 19, 2013 4:59 PM EST

Syria's opposition National Coalition has named Ghassan Hitto, an IT expert born in Damascus, as prime minister to take charge of the regions seized by opposition forces from President Bashar Assad's regime troops.

Hitto received 35 votes out of 48 ballots cast by coalition members during a meeting held in Istanbul.

"I give thanks to the heroes and revolutionaries of the Syrian people. We are with you," the little known U.S.-educated IT expert and former business man told the gathering in a brief remark after he was elected.

Before he was elected, many senior coalition members backed from the session in protest of the "Push" to choose foreign-backed Hitto while his supports argued that he was a qualified manager to oversee the rebel-held region.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and France condemned a Syria air raid on Lebanon boarder as a "violation of sovereignty". U.S State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland is reported to have confirmed that Syrian warplanes and helicopters fired rockets near the town of Arsal, Lebanon, Monday.

According to the official resume provided by the coalition, Hitto was born in 1963 and he has lived in the United States for more than two decades during which he achieved academic degrees from Purdue University in Indiana and Indiana Wesleyan University.

He was an IT professional who worked for different technology companies and also helped run a private Muslim school and is a member of the Muslim Legal Fund of America which gives legal aids to the Muslims in America. He is married and has four children.

It is hoped that he will head the region suffering from power-vacuum seized from the Assad regime and help those starving and war-stricken civilians living in the area- many of whom suffer from lack of food, medical services and electricity.

The announcement came after the U.S. said Monday that it would not stand in the way of any countries arming Syrian rebels. France and the UK, in fact, supported lifting the European Union arms embargo on Syria so that weapons could reach the rebel groups fighting the Assad regime. However, other EU members have said that lifting embargo may be the best of ideas. The issue will be discussed in an EU foreign ministers meeting later this week and a voting will be held in May.

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