Syria's Assad to Introduce Political Reform Amid National Unrest

Parliament address planned for Wednesday comes after the Syrian president accepted the resignation of his 32-member cabinet in an attempt to appease protesters.

Syrian President Bashar Assad is to give a speech before parliament Wednesday, a day after his government resigned amid widespread protests calling for reforms.

He is expected to introduce a number of reforms including the lifting of Syria's emergency law, which has been in place since the Baath Pary came to power in 1963.

Assad supporters - Reuters - March 25, 2011
Supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad travel in a convoy as they wave their national flags March 25, 2011.Reuters

Violent government crackdowns on protests in recent weeks have been reported in the cities of Daraa and Latakia. Witnesses and the US-based Human Rights Watch has put the number of people killed at 73.

On Tuesday, Syria's cabinet resigned in an attempt to quell popular fury, with Syrian state TV reporting that Assad accepted the resignation of the 32-member Cabinet headed by Naji al-Otari, who has been in place since September 23.

The Cabinet will continue running the country's affairs until the formation of a new government.

The resignations will not affect Assad, who holds the lion's share of power in the authoritarian regime.

The Syria Revolution 2011 Facebook page has been calling on all the "free people of Syria," to stage sit-ins across the country Friday, ignoring promises by the government to discuss their demands.

Thousands took to the streets of Damascus and other cities on Wednesday to express their support for al-Assad, who has been in office since 2000.