Syrian VP: Assad to announce big decision in 2 days

Announcement comes as Syrian forces open fire on hundreds of demonstrators in Deraa; Erdogan calls on Assad to adopt reforms.

By REUTERS
March 28, 2011 14:21
2 minute read.
Assad

Assad 311 reuters. (photo credit: reuters)

 
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Syrian security forces opened fire on hundreds of demonstrators chanting against emergency laws in the southern city of Deraa on Monday, a witness said.

The demonstrators had converged on a main square in the city, chanting "We want dignity and freedom" and "No to emergency laws", the witness said.

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Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Shara said on Monday President Bashar al-Assad would announce important decisions that will "please the Syrian people" in the next two days.

Shara was speaking to Lebanese Hezbollah's al-Manar television. The station did not give further details. Assad has been facing the biggest challenge to his 11-year rule after two weeks of anti-government protests spread across the country.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for reforms in Syria at a press conference on Monday.

Erdogan said he spoke to Syrian President Bashar Assad, telling him to answer the public's calls and adopt a reformist approach. He added that Assad is working on lifting emergency rule and restrictions on political parties.



Syrian activists continued to call for protests on Monday on their Facebook page, "The Syrian Revolution 2011."

"We call for daily demonstrations and will not announce a place for protesters to gather, because the police will turn these areas into military zones," the page reads.

Another Syrian Facebook page, "The Syrian Days of Rage,"  says its "main goal...is the freedom in Syria," and listed the rebels' demands:

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turmoil in the Middle East


"1. Suspend all the emergency laws in Syria. And convert the nation to a modern civilian country. 2. A modulation in the main constitution that guarantees a transition to a pluralistic democratic country. 3. Immediate cancellation of the theory of one-governing-party. 4. A formation of a national government that reflects the different shades to achieve all the demands of our people. 5. Make a free and fair elections to the parliament in which includes all the races of the Syrian people. 6. Prosecute who done all of the massacres against the Syrian people in the past. 7. General amnesty for all the prisoners of conscience and political views. 8. The eradication of poverty and unemployment in the Syrian community. 9. Lifting the ban on all media types and the Internet. To allow all the partisan and political forums to express their views freely."

On Sunday, Assad deployed his army after nearly two weeks of protests. Dozens of protesters have died in pro-democracy protests in the southern city of Deraa and nearby towns over the last week in violence the government had blamed on armed groups.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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