14:48 GMT +322 January 2020
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    Several Syrian ministers had to step down bowing to the pressure from Saudi Arabia and France, President Bashar Assad revealed.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Several cabinet members quit the Syrian administration as a result of pressure from countries like Saudi Arabia and France, President Bashar Assad said in an interview with Australian television.

    "Actually, they defected because they’ve been asked to do so by, some of them, Saudi Arabia, some of them by France, it depends on the country they belong to," Assad told SBS in an interview whose transcript was published by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) Friday.

    Assad ordered a cabinet reshuffle on June 22 under Electricity Minister Imad Mohammad Deeb Khamis' leadership. Key members of the administration were said to retain their posts.

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    Bashar al-Assad, Saudi Arabia, France, Syria
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