International

President of Syria to form new government

To form a new government, President of Syria Bashar al-Assad has appointed former Agriculture Minister Adel Safar. He also promised a series of reforms as his administration faces a wave of anti-government protests.

President Assad has blamed a foreign “plot” for the unrest, but he has agreed to examine the unpopular emergency law – in place since 1963.

On Tuesday He sacked the cabinet in an apparent bid try to appease public anger after 60 people died in clashes with security forces.

The wave of protests is the most serious challenge so far to the Assad family’s 40-year rule.

Thousands are reportedly attending prayers for the victims of the latest violence in Damascus.

On Friday Rights groups say at least four people died and dozens were wounded in Douma, a suburb of Damascus, but residents say up to 15 people may have been killed.

Officials say “armed groups” opened fire from rooftops, not just on the protesters but also on security forces, who they say were among the casualties.

It is difficult to confirm the reports, because of government restrictions on the media.

There are no reports of fresh clashes on Sunday, but thousands of mourners are expected to take to the streets for the funerals later this afternoon, says the BBC’s Lina Sinjab in Damascus.

The protests were touched off by the arrest of teenagers who scrawled anti-government graffiti on walls in the town of Deraa in the south.

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