President al-Assad Swears in Homs New Governor

A new governor of Homs was sworn in today, the state news agency SANA reported, after the previous governor, Mohammad Iyad Ghazzal, was dismissed on April 7 following mass protests in the city. Ghassan Mustafa Abdul-Aal takes over the position amid rising discontent in the city and the closure of shops.

Ahmad Dawar, former editorial manager of the state news agency, SANA, has been appointed as its new editor-in-chief. The appointment was made by the new Information Minister Adnan Hassan Mahmoud who, until the new cabinet was announced earlier this month, worked closely with Dawar in his role as SANA’s then editor-in-chief.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad met with a delegation of 40 civic leaders from Aleppo yesterday, Al-Watan Online reports. The president said the new local administration law will cause a “quantum leap” in living standards in Syria after the delegation called for support to local development through micro-financing. The delegates said they support the government’s programme of reform and “assured the president things will never get as bad as in the 1980s,” the newspaper reported.

Yesterday, reports emerged that a senior security officer from Banias, Amjad Abbas, was sacked following the deaths of five civilians in the town last week, reported Day Press News.

Students in Dera’a said they have planned the “biggest demonstrations to date” for this Friday, according to the Associated Press. Thousands of students reportedly marched through the southern city on Wednesday and the cities of Homs, Damascus and Aleppo also saw student protests. The Ministry of Interior warned Syrians in a report on Syrian TV on Tuesday not to protest. The statement called on Syrians to “assist” the government by not taking part in demonstrations.

In other news, British citizens in Syria were urged to consider leaving by commercial means yesterday, the British Foreign Office said. In an email, UK Consul George Howe said: “We advise against all-but-essential travel to the Syrian Arab Republic…We now think it is the right point to suggest to British nationals living in Syria that they should consider leaving the country unless they have a pressing need to remain.”

Syria Today (Syria)