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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sent the army on the streets for the first time after almost two weeks of civil unrest. The 45-year-old is facing the most serious crisis of his 11-year rule. Assad has promised to consider reforms, but this has failed to calm protesters’ anger. The government says its hated, decades-old emergency law will be lifted, but has not said when.

Dozens have died in pro-democracy protests in the southern city of Deraa and surrounding towns.

The military are on the streets of Latakia, where 12 people died in demonstrations on Saturday.

The discontent in Syria has a sectarian basis.

It originates in Deraa, where the majority Sunni Muslim population resent the power and wealth amassed by the elite Alawite minority.

Offices of the governing Baath Party were set on fire on Saturday.The authorities blame armed groups for sparking the bloodshed.

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