Syria awaits key speech from Assad

Updated: 2011-03-29 07:57

(China Daily)

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Syria awaits key speech from Assad
Supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad shout slogans in Syria's northern city of Aleppo on Sunday. [George Ourfalian / Reuters]

BEIRUT / DAMASCUS - Syrian Vice-President Farouq al-Shara said on Monday that President Bashar al-Assad would announce important decisions that will "please the Syrian people" in the next two days.

Shara was speaking to Lebanon's al-Manar television station, which did not give further details. Assad has been facing the biggest challenge to his 11-year rule after two weeks of anti-government protests spread across the country.

Earlier, some Syrian legislators asked the president to explain in detail the promised reforms, an MP said on Monday.

"On Sunday night, MPs requested that the president clarify the measures that authorities have announced and urged him to address parliament and explain," MP Mohammed Habash told AFP.

Parliamentarians also held a minute of silence, he said, to honor those killed in two weeks of unrest in Syria.

The security situation in the country has worsened in the past few days, with reports of gangs wreaking havoc in the northern port city of Latakia and sporadic bouts of violence in the southern governorate of Daraa.

The authorities have accused Muslim fundamentalists of aiming to incite sectarian-based strife in Syria, a majority Sunni Muslim country which is also home to Christians, Druze and Alawite Muslims.

Buthaina Shaaban, a top adviser to Assad, on Sunday said the authorities had decided to end the state of emergency, which came into effect when the ruling Baath party rose to power almost 50 years ago.

But it remains unclear what the decision will entail.

"The decision to lift the emergency law has already been made. But I do not know about the time frame," Shaaban said.




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