Nawaf al-Fares has been sworn in at a ceremony in Baghdad attended by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem.

A prominent member of the Baath Party and former governor of the coastal city of Latakia, Al-Fares is also head of the Uqaydat tribe present in both Syria and Iraq. His position within Iraq’s tribal community is expected to give him strong influence among Iraqi Sunnis.

He is expected to assume full duties in late 2008 or early 2009.