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Syria's Assad Appoints Former Minister To Form New Government

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, has appointed the country's former agriculture minister to form a new government.

State-run Syrian television is reporting that Assad today issued a decree appointing Adel Safar to form a new cabinet.

Safar served as agriculture minister in the government that was dissolved by Assad last week in an attempt to appease protesters.

The Middle Eastern nation has seen a wave of protests challenging Assad's 11-year rule.

More than 70 people have died during the past two weeks of protests.

The United States on April 1 applauded what it called "the courage and dignity" of the pro-reform demonstrators.

compiled from agency reports