Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accepted his cabinet's resignation on Tuesday while promising to lift the country's long-standing emergency law and grant Syrians more freedoms when he speaks to the nation on Wednesday. The concessions come after the government's deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protests in recent weeks, which, according to Al Jazeera, have left 61 dead in Daraa, 12 dead in Latakia, and 10 dead in Sanamin.
A new cabinet will likely be formed in 24 hours, Al Jazeera reports. But the BBC adds that power in Syria resides not in the government but "in the hand of the president, his family and the security apparatus." Assad, tweeted The Guardian's Martin Chulov, will soon find out "whether low-key reforms appease the street or transform events from unrest to revolution. Huge test."
On Tuesday, thousands of people demonstrated in Syria's capital, Damascus, and in other major cities in support of Assad. In the photo above, the supporters unfurl an Assad poster that reads, "I'll not kneel as long as you are my leader." One man told Al Jazeera, "Bashar al-Assad is the spine of Syria. Without him, our country will be pushed into chaos."
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