Two Candidates to Succeed “Abu Hatab” As President of the Interim Government

Expressive image- Anas al-Abdah and Ahmad Tu'mah, the Chairman of the delegation to Astana and former President of the Interim Government - Designed by Enab Baladi. 

Expressive image- Anas al-Abdah and Ahmad Tu'mah, the Chairman of the delegation to Astana and former President of the Interim Government - Designed by Enab Baladi. 


Candidates can now seek the president’s office of the Syrian Interim Government after Dr. Jawad Abu Hatab has resigned from the post, two months before the elections of the government and the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, syncing with talks about Turkey’s intention to organize the area, from northern rural Aleppo to Idlib, under a single civil administration after solving the affairs related to the Salvation Government and the problems arising from it, as it is accused of its affiliation to the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

The causes to Abu Hatab’s resignation are not clear yet, and in an interview with Enab Baladi, Yasser al-Hajji, the director of the foreign affairs of the Interim Government, said that Abu Hatab has resigned of the presidency and the ministry of defense, giving no further details.

On the condition of anonymity, sources, informed of the Interim Government’s progress, told Enab Baladi that the reason to the resignation is that Abu Hatab could observe no developments in relation to the causes he was concerned within the areas run by his government, in northern rural Hama in particular.

One of these sources said that Abu Hatab tendered his resignation about three months ago, which he announced recently, as to continue with the procedures relating to the government’s upcoming elections, decided to take place in March, adding that of the reasons that led to the resignation was the narrow powers granted to Abu Hatab in Northern Syria throughout his term as a president, which completely affected the affairs assigned to him.

Split From the Center’s Authority

Going back in time to the period where Turkey first entered the areas in northern rural Hama via the projects and the civil administrations it founded in several towns and villages, it could be clearly seen that the local councils established in northern rural Aleppo were granted unique powers, away from the center they are bound to, the Interim Government, and they also had an immediate relation with the Turkish side.

Though the overall image is that the Interim Government is in control of the civil administration and the military power in northern rural Aleppo, the control is only a matter of formalities, for each of the local councils has its own specific powers, separate from the government heading them, which they managed to achieve through signing contracts with the Turkish states, at the levels of services and the projects with which the Turkish companies sat a foot in the area; electricity, reconstruction, roads and telecommunication.

This, speaking of the local councils in rural Aleppo and the nature of the bond they have with the Interim Government, relating to the narrow powers which the source referred to in a gesture to one of the causes of the former President Jawad Abu Hatab’s resignation.

In the past two years, Turkey managed to directly associate the civil administration in northern rural Aleppo and Afrin, today, which it managed to control in 2018, with the Turkish state, knowing that Hatay State runs all the affairs relating to Afrin while Gaziantep manages the towns and the villages in northern rural Aleppo, from Azaz to the city of al-Bab.

Tow Leading Candidates Are To Succeed Abu Hatab

Even though the president’s post is so far available and official statements are not being made concerning it, tow names are echoing as potential candidates, being consensus personalities, according to what sources have told Enab Baladi. The two personalities are the former president and the spokesperson of the Syrian Coalition Anas al-Abdah and the former President of the Interim Government and the Chairman of the Delegation to Astana Ahmad Tu’mah.

The sources added that al-Abdah has the greater chances of taking up the position because he was always the “most courageous in proposing new ideas, such as realizing an agreement with the Kurds or with Ahmad Jarba without combat for control or the administration of the north-eastern area.”

According to the sources, al-Abdah and Tu’mah are like-minded and have a similar political line, explaining that “when al-Abdah is assigned a position, Tu’mah is the one that does action, and the other way around.”

In addition to the president’s post, many changes are likely to happen, including the General Staff of the National Army, for there are talks that the General Staff is to be headed by Colonel Hassan al-Hamadah while the ministry of defense is to sustain its current structure.

The sources pointed out that the a few upcoming days might witness a convergence between the Interim Government and the Salvation Government, especially since the latter has shown readiness to open up, following the “General Syrian Conference of the Syrian Revolution,” held in the Bab al-Hawa border crossing in Idlib, in reaction to which the Interim Government expressed neither disapproval nor warmth.


Who Is Jawad Abu Hatab?

Dr. Jauad Abu Hatab’s name rose to fame when he was assigned the president of the Interim Government, elected by the General Assembly of the Opposition Coalition on May 17, 2016.

Abu Hatab was assigned the mission of founding a “specialized technical committee” in consultation with the Chief of the Unified Army Staff, as to cooperate to set up a clear structure for the army, in addition to keeping in touch with the revolutionary factions in the “liberated” areas.

Born in 1962, the heart surgeon is from Ashrafiyat Wadi Barda, rural Damascus.

Abu Hatab was on a constant movement between Northern Syria and Turkey and was assigned the dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Aleppo University, in addition to several positions such as the minister of defense.

Abu Hatab graduated from Damascus University and specialized in general and then cardiac surgery. He, then, specialized in child pediatric cardio surgery, while considered among the best surgeons in the field in the Middle East.

He specialized in cardiac surgery in San Donato, Italy and then trained on the congenital heart defect surgery in Great Ormond Hospital, UK.

He worked in the University Heart Surgery Center, Damascus.

He is also a member of the European Society of Cardiology and the Milan Medical Association. He functioned as a field surgeon between the two parts of Ghouta and southern Damascus in the first years of the revolution. And then, he moved to Jordan, where he found the first hospital for Syrians, al-Salam/Peace, after he obtained an official license from the government.

The doctor was also the rural Damascus’ representative for the Coalition; he was also one of the candidates for its presidency in the same term with Moaz al-Khatib and withdraw from the elections for being in the same team with him.

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