The Bashar Assad regime in Syria named veteran diplomat Faisal Mekdad as new foreign minister, replacing Walid al-Moallem who died last week, the presidency announced in a statement.
Mekdad will be replaced as deputy foreign minister by Syria's ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, the statement said.
Mekdad, 66, has served as a deputy foreign minister since 2006. Al-Moallem, Syria's veteran foreign minister, died on Monday at the age of 79.
Al-Moallem was a staunch defender of Assad's bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters in 2011, which sparked a conflict that has now lasted almost a decade.
During the past decade’s uprising against Assad, he became one of the country’s most prominent faces to the outside world.
Like his predecessor, Mekdad is a career diplomat who has been a close confidant of Assad and a harsh critic of the opposition during Syria’s nearly 10-year conflict.
Mekdad has represented Syria in conferences throughout the world since becoming deputy foreign minister.