Syrian minister survives attack on car: state TV

Reuters

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Syrian government minister survived an attack on his car on Saturday but his driver was killed, state media said.

El Ikhbariya television said the car of Ali Haidar, the Minister of National Reconciliation Affairs, was targeted while driving on a highway in Tartous province - a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad.

It did not go into further details on the nature of the assault.

Haidar is part of what Assad's government has called the "patriotic opposition" - political groups that consider themselves to be rivals to the president's ruling Baath Party but do not support the 2-1/2-year revolt against his rule.

But those who have joined the uprising consider figures like Haidar to be regime stooges used to undermine opposition figures who support the uprising against four decades of Assad family rule. Haidar is one of a number of "patriotic opposition" leaders who have taken up government positions.

One government source said Haidar was not in the vehicle at the time of the attack, but did not say where the minister was.

Assassinations and kidnappings have become increasingly common since the revolt began. What started as popular protests has degenerated into a civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people.

(Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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