New government formed in Syria

A new government was formed in Syria on Thursday as the country’s leadership attempts to ease pressure from protesters for reform, the Sana news agency reported.

President Bashar al-Assad announced the new government, which will be headed by Prime Minister Adel Safar. The former agriculture minister was named to head the government on April 3 following the resignation of Mohammed Naji Otri on March 29.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem and Defense Minister Ali Habib have retained their posts, but a number of key departments got new heads, including the interior, finance and media affairs ministries.

Scores of people have been killed in protests and clashes that have been raging since mid-March as opponents of the country’s leadership found inspiration in successful uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. In response to the month of pro-democracy protests, the authorities have pledged to implement economic and political reforms.

DAMASCUS, April 14 (RIA Novosti) 

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