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Assad Mulls Lifting State of Emergency Amid Syria Protests

Assad's adviser accuses Israel and the United States of indirect and direct interference with Syria's internal affairs, warns against the interference by exterior forces.

The Syrian government said it will consider lifting a state of emergency in place since 1963 and is moving to allow greater political freedoms in response to days of unrest in a southern city.

Presidential adviser Buthaina Shaaban, speaking in a press conference Thursday, said the government is drafting a law that would allow political parties besides the ruling Baath party. She told reporters that President Bashar Assad's government will begin studying a possible ending to the emergency laws and put in place mechanisms for fighting corruption.

Bashar Assad - AP - Nov. 9, 2010

At the press conference, Shaaban warned against the interference by exterior forces with Syria's internal affairs. She accused Israel and the United States of indirect and direct interference with Syria's internal affairs and firm support for "resistance groups."

Shaaban firmly rejected publications that claimed Hezbollah and Iran are supporting the government in coping with "the rioters," as she defined them, describing the publications as ridiculous.

In an additional effort to appease the public, Shaaban said President Assad ordered the formation of a committee to raise living standards, and promised higher salaries for public servants.

The pledges appear unlikely to satisfy protesters in the southern city of Daraa after a violent crackdown that killed what many say are dozens of demonstrators.

Shaaban said Assad did not order security forces to fire at the protesters.