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Syria's Assad seeks to curb prayer protests
By REUTERS
04/15/2011

AMMAN - Syrian President Bashar Assad's efforts to contain an unprecedented wave of protests face a key test on Friday, after he unveiled a new cabinet and ordered detainees released in a bid to ease tensions.


Assad's measures were unlikely to satisfy many protesters demanding political freedoms and an end to corruption. The cabinet has little power and the release of detainees excluded those who committed crimes "against the nation and citizens".


The official news agency said the releases cover detainees arrested in the recent wave of protests, but human rights defenders said there had been more arrests in the city of Deraa on Thursday.
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