On Wednesday, the President of the Syrian regime issued two legislative decrees, marking unprecedented changes within the Assad regime at the presidential and governmental levels. The first decree involved the dissolution of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and its replacement with the General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic. The second decree, a historic move, appointed Lamia Shakour as the Minister of Local Administration and Environment, making her the first woman to hold this position. In Decree No. 313, she replaced Hussein Makhlouf, who, under the same decree, became the Minister of Water Resources, succeeding Tammam Raad.
Who is Lamia Shakour?
The newly appointed Minister of Local Administration and Environment, Lamia Shakour, is the daughter of Major General Youssef Shakour, the former ambassador of the regime to France. Major General Youssef Shakour, who served as the chief of staff of the Syrian army during the 1973 October Sixth War against the Israeli occupation, operated in the era of Hafez al-Assad.
Lamia, originally from Homs governorate, previously held the position of the Syrian regime’s permanent representative to UNESCO at the United Nations in her most recent government role.
The story of Shakour’s defection from the Syrian regime
Since 2009, Lamia Shakour had served as the regime’s ambassador to France until controversy emerged in 2011 when it was said she defected following the violence inflicted by the regime’s security services on peaceful demonstrators, as reported by France 24. Shakur appeared on state television the next day to refute the reports and announced her intention to sue the French channel.
At the time, France 24 expressed surprise that Ambassador Lamia Shakour denied her resignation, not ruling out manipulation or provocation. The channel clarified that it hosted the ambassador after she sent a request to the press department of the embassy, using the usual email for communication, noting a positive response from the ambassador, who was contacted on time and through the provided phone number by the press attaché at the embassy.
In response to the ambassador’s resignation announcement, Reuters confirmed Lamia Shakour’s remarks based on an official letter received from the Syrian embassy in Paris via email. The channel issued a threat to prosecute anyone involved in manipulation if confirmed.
In the subsequent year (2012), Shakour left Paris by the decision of the French authorities following the severed relations between France and the Assad regime. Since then, she has been appointed as the ambassador to UNESCO.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.