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Syrian cabinet resigns amid mass protests

Thousands of Syrians rally to show their support for President Bashar al-Assad, March 29, 2011. ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images.

Syrian state-run TV says the Cabinet has resigned amid the worst unrest and violence in recent history.

The country’s president, Bashar-al-Assad, has accepted the resignation. The move is said to be aimed at diffusing more than a week of mass protests, calling for Assad’s resignation and the lifting of a nearly 50-year state of emergency.

After the news was announced, hundreds of thousands of supporters of Syria’s hard-line regime poured into the streets, trying to oppose the recent wave of dissent.

Assad and his family have been in power for four decades, with a history of brutally crushing any hints of uprising.

At least 61 people have been killed since the protests erupted March 18. Assad is expected to address the nation within 24 hours.

In the meantime, he has appointed outgoing Prime Minister Muhammad Naji Otari as caretaker prime minister of the new government, according to Syrian state-run TV.