Decision already made to lift emergency law in Syria


DAMASCUS/AMMAN – The decision to lift emergency rule in Syria, which has been in place since 1963, has “already been made”, a presidential adviser said Sunday. “The decision to lift the emergency law has already been made. But I do not know about the time frame,” Buthaina Shaaban told AFP in an interview at her office.
Syria’s emergency law, put in place when the ruling Baath party rose to power in March 1963, imposes restrictions on public gatherings and movement and authorises the arrest of “suspects or persons who threaten security.” The law also authorises interrogation of any individual and the surveillance of personal communication as well as official control of the content of newspapers and other media before publication.
Meanwhile, a Syrian official source said on Sunday 12 people were killed in clashes in the port city of Latakia over the last two days. “An official source said attacks by armed elements on the families and districts of Latakia over the last two days resulted in the martyrdom of 10 security forces and civilians and the killing of two of the armed elements,” the official news agency SANA said.
The source added that 200 people, most of whom were from the security forces, were wounded in the clashes. A resident of Latakia said soldiers took to the streets of the city on Saturday night to help secret police and security forces control the city after confrontations between Alawite and Sunni youth.
Syrian army also beefed up its presence in the southern city of Deraa, a focal point of bloody protests across the country, and soldiers took to the streets in a northern port where tensions are rising, residents said.
Security forces had fired on protesters on Friday in Deraa and there were reports of more shootings in other parts of Syria. Authorities have blamed the violence on “armed gangs”.