Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

US media reacts to ebola scare

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: Center for Disease Control Confirms First Case of Virus in US (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: Center for Disease Control Confirms First Case of Virus in US

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

I will support Hillary Clinton, will.i.am tells France 24

Read more

FOCUS

Germany: Spread of radical Islam propaganda sparks concerns

Read more

ENCORE!

Corrie Nielsen: Up and Coming Talent at Paris Fashion Week

Read more

FACE-OFF

French Senate election: A new blow for Hollande

Read more

ENCORE!

Encore's Film Show: Julie Gayet, Denzel Washington, and cartoon madness

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Turkey's strategy towards the Islamic State group

Read more

Middle east

Assad names new premier to appease reformists

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-04

Syrian President Bashar Assad on Sunday appointed former agriculture minister Adel Safar (pictured) to head a new government, a move aimed at placating reformist protesters calling for widespread reforms.

AP - Syrian President Bashar Assad appointed a former agriculture minister Sunday to form a new government, part of a series of overtures toward reform as the country faces a wave of anti-government protests.

Hundreds of people were marching in Douma, a suburb of the capital Damascus, for funerals to mourn those killed in the latest round of protests, which started two weeks ago. At least 80 people have died in clashes with security forces.

Assad appointed Adel Safar, the former agriculture minister, to form the new Cabinet, Syria’s state-run television said. Safar is seen as a respectable figure in a government that many had criticized for corruption.

Assad sacked his government last week in answer to growing cries for reform in Syria, one of the most authoritarian regimes in the Middle East. On Thursday, he set up committees to look into the deaths of civilians during two weeks of unrest and replacing decades-old state of emergency laws.

Safar, 58, holds a doctorate in agricultural sciences from the French polytechnic center in France and was the dean of Damascus University’s agricultural faculty from 1997-2000. He also heads the Arab Center for Dry and Arid Areas.

The extraordinary wave of protests has proved the most serious challenge yet to the Assad family’s 40-year dynasty.

The protests were touched off by the arrest of several teenagers who scrawled anti-government graffiti on walls in Daraa, a drought-parched and impoverished city in the south near the border with Jordan.

Assad has blamed a “foreign conspiracy” for the unrest and offered gestures of reform that protesters say do not go far enough to satisfy their demands for real change.

Human rights groups and eyewitnesses said a campaign of arrests was continuing Sunday as Assad tries to cut off the demonstrations. Ammar Qurabi, who heads Syria’s National Organization for Human Rights, said at least 500 people were under arrest since protests began on March 18.
 

Date created : 2011-04-03

  • SYRIA

    Assad speaks – and crushes hopes of Damascus Spring

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    President Assad blames 'conspirators' for unrest

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Cabinet resigns after weeks of violent protests

    Read more

COMMENT(S)