Syria’s government has lifted the emergency law that gave police extensive powers in an announcement on state television on 27 March, but it is unclear when the reforms will be applied. The country had been ruled under emergency law since 1963.

President Bashar al-Assad indicated on 24 March that he would be willing to lift the law amid rising protests that are taking place across Syria. Steps will be taken to implement ‘legitimate reforms’ demanded by the people according to a government spokesperson.

Initial protests scheduled to take place on 5 February in Damascus failed to gain enough support, but residents in the town of Deraa have spurred on anti-government demonstrations that has seen at least 27 killed.