Lebanon News

Syria’s foreign minister undergoes open heart surgery in Beirut

File - Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem speaks to the media in Moscow, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

BEIRUT: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem is in the recovery room at a Beirut hospital after he underwent an open-heart surgery, sources familiar with his condition told The Daily Star Friday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the sources said that Moallem was admitted to the American University of Beirut Medical Center’s intensive care unit late Thursday. Thy added that Moallem, 73, was taken to hospital under tight security measures.

Syria’s Syrian Arab News Agency reported Friday that Moallem underwent a successful heart surgery.

Moallem has been Syria’s top diplomat since 2006 and led the Syrian government delegation at peace talks in Geneva.

Two rounds of peace negotiations in January and February failed to result in an agreement on a transitional government or halt the war that has killed an estimated 146,000 people since the uprising began in March 2011.

In December 2013, Syrian Interior Minister Mohammad Shaar received medical treatment at the same hospital in Beirut. This happened shortly after Shaar survived a deadly attack at the Interior Ministry in Damascus.

Lebanon has adopted a policy of disassociation toward the conflict in neighboring Syria. But last year Hezbollah joined the conflict alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The March 14 coalition, Hezbollah’s rival, is a supporter of the Syrian opposition.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 15, 2014, on page 2.




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