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Syria's emergency law to be revoked

Syria's emergency law has been in force since the Baath party assumed power in 1963

AFP , Sunday 27 Mar 2011
Syria
Image taken from a video of funerals of protesters killed in earlier in Deraa (Reuters)
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The decision to lift emergency rule in Syria, which has been in place since 1963, has "already been made", a presidential adviser said Sunday.

"The decision to lift the emergency law has already been made. But I do not know about the time frame," Buthaina Shaaban told AFP in an interview at her office.

Syria's emergency law, put in place when the ruling Baath party rose to power in March 1963, imposes restrictions on public gatherings and movement and authorises the arrest of "suspects or persons who threaten security."

The law also authorises interrogation of any individual and the surveillance of personal communication as well as official control of the content of newspapers and other media before publication.

More than 30 people have been confirmed killed in a spiral of violence that has gripped Syria since a wave of protest broke out on 15 March, with demonstrators demanding major reforms.

President Bashar Al-Assad, who is facing unprecedented domestic pressure as protests and clashes erupt across Syria, will address the nation "very soon," his adviser told AFP on Sunday.

Twelve people were killed in clashes Saturday in the northern city of Latakia, presidential adviser Buthaina Shaaban told AFP on Sunday.

"The official death toll in Latakia Saturday is 10 people - citizens and members of the security forces - and two gunmen," Shaaban told AFP.

Syrian troops have entered the port city of Latakia, 350 kilometres (220 miles) northwest of the capital Damascus, a day after an official said two passers-by were killed by snipers.

The government has announced a string of reforms in a bid to appease the protesters, including the possibility of lifting emergency rule which has been in place since 1963.

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