Assad Aide Says Syria to End Decades of Emergency Law, but No Timetable Set

Assurance comes as security forces on Sunday continued to beef up their presence in Daraa and Latakia, where tensions are rising.

An adviser to Syrian President Bashar Assad said Sunday that Syrian authorities would lift emergency law in the country, but she did not give a timetable.

"Absolutely," Bouthaina Shaaban said when asked by Al Jazeera English television whether emergency law, which was imposed by the Baath Party when it took power in a 1963 coup, will be lifted.

Syria Protests – March 25, 2011

The assurance came as security forces on Sunday continued to beef up their presence in the southern restive city of Daraa and in the northern port city Latakia where tensions are rising.

The protests began eight days ago in Daraa, the city which has remained a focal point of a bloody government crackdown on opponents, and pose the most serious challenge to Assad and his Baath Party's 48-year rule.

At least 55 people are believed to have been killed in and around Daraa alone, as secret police and special forces try to quell the protests.

Assad, meanwhile, has convened the leadership of the Baath Party to consider the steps to take to quell the unrest. Hezbollah's Al-Manar television in Lebanon reported that a shake-up of the Syrian cabinet was one of the moves being debated, along with the release of political prisoners.