Supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad shout slogans in Syria's northern city of Aleppo
Supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad shout slogans in Syria's northern city of Aleppo Reuters

The Syrian cabinet has resigned in the face of unyielding anti-government protests, according to state-controlled television.

President [Bashar al] Assad accepts the government's resignation, said an announcement.

According to Al Jazeera, a new cabinet will be formed within the next 24 hours.

Assad, whose Baath party has ruled Syria under emergency laws for almost the past half-century, is expected to make a speech to the nation later today or tomorrow in which he is likely to abolish those emergency laws.

After two weeks of continuing protests – which have focused largely in the southern city of Deraa and led to dozens of deaths – Assad has come under extreme pressure to enact some democratic reforms in one of the most oppressive states of the Arab world.

Ironically, the development comes as thousands of people converged in central Damascus to express their support of Assad. The crowd carried Syrian flags and large posters showing the president.
The people want Bashar al-Assad, they chanted.

Another Assad supporter told AJ Bashar al-Assad is the spine of Syria. Without him, our country will be pushed into chaos.”

There are also pro-Assad rallies taking place in other parts of Syria, according to Al Jazeera.

Nonetheless, Assad is expected to make some changes in how the state is run, including possibly the legalization of political parties.

Assad has made no public appearances since the unrest commenced.

A reporter for Al Jazeera stated: One of the key things [the government spokesperson] said was there are no red lines. Everything is up for negotiations to the president of Syria. The parliament has been in meetings ever since [the announcement] dealing with some of those reforms, at times asking the president's office to clarify exactly what these reforms will be. We do expect the parliament, potentially tonight, will announce that these reforms have been accepted. At that point the cabinet will resign as part of the reforms and potentially we could end up hearing from the Syrian president Bashar al Assad.
The reporter added that we know the emergency law will be lifted, that is confirmed ... the question is when will that happen, our correspondent said.”

Protesters are also demanding the release of political prisoners, many of whom have been detained for years without any specific charges.