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Syria’s Assad faces major challenge as unrest grows

21/03/11 06:53 CET

In the Syrian city of Deraa crowds have set fire to a building housing the local headquarters of the ruling Baath party.

They also torched the main courts complex and two phone company branches, one of them, “Syriatel” is owned by President Bashar al-Assad’s cousin.

The protests have left four people dead and dozens more have been arrested.

President Assad is facing the biggest challenge to his rule since he succeeded his father as leader 11 years ago.

He has sent officials to try to placate the people of Deraa but thousands rallied to demand an end to emergency law in the southern city.

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