Syrian President Bashar Assad appointed a former agriculture minister to head a new government. Adel Safar will choose a new cabinet after Assad disbanded the old one in an attempt to appease protesters calling for reform. Safar is seen as a respectable official in a regime with a reputation for corruption. The protests began when several schoolchildren were arrested for scrawling graffiti, but quickly turned into a wider call to reform one of the most authoritarian regimes in the region. So far, Assad has responded harshly, with government forces arresting hundreds, according to Syria's National Organization for Human Rights, and killing at least 80.
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