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Syrian government resigns, as nations waits for president to speak

The Syrian government has resigned as the pressure grows on President Bashar al-Assad to address the protesters' demands for more political freedom. He's due to make a speech outlining further concessions soon.

Syrian protesters

Pressure has been growing on the Syrian leadership

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accepted the cabinet's resignation in the latest attempt to quell anti-government unrest, according to state television.

A new government is to be formed in the coming days. Syria's official news agency said current Prime Minister Naji al-Otari would remain in a caretaker capacity until a new cabinet is in place.

The move comes after more than a week of violent protests and ahead of a much-anticipated speech by Assad in which he is expected to make further political concessions.

Last week he pledged to look into lifting the country's emergency law, which has been in place for over 40 years, and granting greater political and media freedom.

Up to 60 people are believed to have died in violent clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters over the past two weeks.

Earlier Tuesday, thousands of pro-government supporters took to the streets in several cities across the country to show their allegiance for the embattled Syrian leader.

Assad, who has been in power for 11 years, is expected to address the nation in the next 24 hours.

Author: Rob Mudge (Reuters, AP, AFP)
Editor: Michael Knigge

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