President hints at election reform

President Bashar al-Assad in a meeting with representatives from al-Midan in Damascus said “radical change” in how the government interacts with Syrians in needed.

The president said more independent members may be allowed to serve in the next parliamentary round and that parliamentarians should provide “constructive criticism” of government policy, reported Al-Watan.

He also said that “mistakes” had been made by security personnel who were sent to disperse protests in the central Damascus neighbourhood – a job that should have been reserved for the police.

Assad told the delegation that 4,000 police would be trained in crowd control.

Also state news sources reported the deaths of eight military personnel in clashes in recent days.

Foreign states ramp up pressure on Syria

The US and EU yesterday warned that new sanctions could be imposed on Syria’s leaders “in the coming hours and days”, reported AP.

US President Barak Obama is due to give a speech on Thursday in which he is expected to announce the new measures.

Both the US and EU already have imposed sanctions on Syria targeting 14 officials and their associates.

According to the French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, the UN is also nearing an agreement condemning Syria, according to the Egyptian Al-Ahram.

Elsewhere, half of Kuwait’s 50 MPs urged the government on Tuesday to sever ties with Damascus and expel its ambassador in protest at Syria’s handling of the crisis, reported Lebanon’s Daily Star.

Twenty-five MPs called on the Kuwaiti government to “cut ties with the repressive [Syrian] regime and to expel its ambassador in Kuwait,” in a statement received by AFP.

However, Syria’s Prime Minister met with Kuwait’s ambassador yesterday, a meeting SANA reported as enhancing “brotherly relations”.

In other news

Al-Jazeera correspondent Dorothy Parvaz is free and back in Doha, the news channel reported today.

Syria Today (Syria)