Syrian rebel military leader rejects new PM

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FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 file photo, Syrian opposition coalition leader Mouaz al-Khatib speaks during a press conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, not pictured, following an international conference on Syria at Villa Madama, Rome. The leader of the Western-based Syrian opposition coalition has resigned, citing frustrations with the body's ability to advance the fight against President Bashar Assad. Khatib said in a statement posted on his Facebook page Sunday that he would continue to serve the opposition's cause outside of the "the official institutions." (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca, File)

BEIRUT (AP) — The head of the Syrian opposition coalition's military branch has refused to recognize the body's new prime minister, saying he was not properly elected.

Louay Almokdad, aide to Gen. Salim Idris, told The Associated Press by phone Sunday that the rebel Free Syrian Army would not recognize the U.S.-educated IT expert chosen last week to head a rebel interim government.

Almokdad said Ghassan Hitto was elected without the support of prominent Syrian opposition figures and that a recognized prime minister must have broad support.

Hitto received 35 out of 48 votes cast by the 63 active members of the opposition Syrian National Coalition last week.

Many prominent opposition figures boycotted the vote, saying Hitto was unknown and backed by outside powers like Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood.