Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has accepted the resignation of his cabinet amid increasingly deadly protests in the country.
Earlier, tens of thousands of people came out in support of the president in the Syrian capital Damascus following a near two-week wave of unrest that has seen more than 60 people killed in a violent crackdown by security forces.
Despite the latest move, Syria’s cabinet is generally seen to have little authority, with power concentrated in the hands of Assad, his family and the security apparatus.
For that reason, it is unclear if the government’s resignation will be enough to satisfy pro-democracy protesters who have held mass rallies across Syria, notably in Deraa. The capital and the north western city of Latakia have also seen demonstrations.
Speculation remains rife that Assad is preparing to announce the lifting of emergency laws that have kept dissent in check for nearly 50 years, one of the pro-democracy movement’s key demands.