(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- In an attempt to quell unrest that threatens his rule, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to lift his nation's 48-year-old emergency rule, the biggest concession yet to pro-democracy activists.
Al-Assad hasn't actually signed the decree that would seemingly end unjustified arrests and a ban on demonstrations, but that's only considered a formality.
The decision came as violence once again rocked the northern city of Homs. Demonstrators came under fire from government security forces Tuesday after they had taken over the main square. Homs has been described as a ghost town since 17 protesters were gunned down last Sunday by security forces.
With the government under siege for the past month, al-Assad appears to be bowing to the demands of pro-democracy groups but lawyers and activists contend the changes aren't coming fast enough, saying that real political progress must be enacted immediately.
Syria has long maintained that tough laws are needed to stem the rise of radical Islam.
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