Following wartime elections, Syrian president reappoints prime minister to form new government

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Syria's state-run news agency is reporting that President Bashar Assad has reappointed premier Wael al-Halqi to form a new government.

SANA says Assad issued a decree Sunday tasking al-Halqi to form the new Cabinet. Al-Halqi automatically became a caretaker premier following June presidential elections in which Assad claimed a new seven-year term in office.

The vote was confined to government-controlled areas and dismissed by the opposition and its Western allies as a sham. In his inauguration speech on July 16, he confidently declared victory and praised his supporters for "defeating the dirty war."

It is not clear how much time al-Halqi has to form the Cabinet, which is not expected to change the course of Syria's 3-year-old civil war. Opposition activists say the war has killed more than 170,000 people.