Jordan’s Information Minister says Syria’s defecting Prime Minister Riyad Hijab is in the country.

Sameeh Maaytah’s remark to the official Petra news agency on Wednesday ends speculation about Hijab’s whereabouts.

There were conflicting reports suggesting that he may have gone to Qatar since his defection to the opposition on Monday.

Initially, Mr Maaytah denied on Monday that Mr Hijab was in the country. But another Jordanian official and the rebel Free Syrian Army confirmed he fled to Jordan on Monday with his family. They said he was planning to travel onward to Qatar, but did not specify when.

The reason for the discrepancy in accounts was not immediately clear. But Jordan has been concerned that its more powerful northern neighbour may try to drag it into its 17-month-old civil war.

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