Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday appointed a former agriculture minister as the country’s new prime minister and asked him to form a government — as thousands turned out in the city of Douma for the funerals of eight protesters killed on Friday.
Human rights groups say more than 60 people have been killed by security forces since the unrest began two weeks ago. But the government has blamed the deaths and the unrest on “armed groups.”
Safar was dean of Damascus University‘s agricultural faculty until 2003 when he became a member of the Cabinet that resigned last week.
Besides naming a new government, Mr. Assad has also called for reforms including the creation of a committee to study the possibility of lifting the country’s emergency law, which bans political activity not approved by the government. Abolishing the emergency law has been a key demand of the protesters.