Muallem Undergoes Successful Heart Surgery in Beirut

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, who led the regime's negotiating team at failed peace talks this year, underwent a successful heart operation in Lebanon on Friday, Syrian television reported.

Muallem, the chief diplomat of President Bashar Assad's regime throughout the three-year civil war, had undergone tests for a suspected blocked coronary artery, a medical source in the Lebanese capital told Agence France Presse.

"Doctors say the heart operation was a success, and Mr. Muallem will return to normal life in a few days," Syrian television quoted Damascus' ambassador in Beirut Ali Abdul Karim Ali as saying.

The 73-year-old was admitted to the American University of Beirut Medical Center under tight security on Thursday, the Lebanese medical source said.

"He underwent a quadruple coronary bypass in an operation lasting four hours," the source said, describing Muallem's condition as "stable" and saying he will be in hospital for a week.

Radio Liban Libre reported Muallem had been brought into the renowned Beirut hospital through an underground car park accompanied by a large number of bodyguards.

Muallem served as Syrian ambassador in Washington from 1990 to 2000 and became foreign minister in 2006.

Source: Agence France Presse, Associated Press, Naharnet

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