Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Syrian government steps down

Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji Otri

Source: Press TV

Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji Otri's government has decided to leave office and President Bashar al-Assad has accepted the resignations, state television says.

Otri submitted his resignation on Tuesday. Assad, however, appointed him as the caretaker premier pending the formation of a new government, the Syrian Arab news agency (SANA) reported.

The decision to leave office came after weeks of protests calling for reforms, which led to deadly violence in several cities.

The opposition accuses security forces of being behind the killings. But the government denies the allegation and blames armed gangs and foreign powers, especially Israel, for the unrest.

On Tuesday, Syrians held massive popular rallies for the second successive day to voice their support for Assad and a comprehensive reform program led by him.

Large crowds of demonstrators poured into streets across the country to expressed loyalty to the motherland and insisted on preserving national unity, security and stability, SANA said.

They condemned dissident rallies against the government as part of an enemy plot to divide Syrians and denounced attempts to sow sedition and target the coexistence among Syrian people.

On Monday, Vice President Farouk al-Shara announced that President Assad planned to deliver an important speech within the next two days.

The Syrian head of state is expected to reach out to all Syrians in his speech and reassure them of reforms in the country's political system.

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