Syria: Government Introduces Changes, Opposition Calls to Protests

Damascus, May 26 (Prensa Latina) The Syrian government on Thursday announced social measures to abate popular demonstrations, but opposition leaders called for new protests on Friday and encouraged desertion in the military.

State television and news agency reported that the Ministry of Economy and Commerce on Thursday set a new rate of transport of all types between provincial centers, with discounts of between 5.5 and 7.5 percent.

The reduction in prices, which come into force tomorrow, is based on a 25 percent cut in the cost of diesel fuel, said an official of that ministry.

The agency SANA reported that President Bashar Al-Assad issued a decree introducing amendments to the executive regulations of the universities to help students.

The decree also includes a clause relating to students who may be admitted to faculties, departments and specialties in universities without being restricted by the order of grades and other criteria established by the Supreme Education Council.

The student sector was one with the greatest participation in the street protests across the country to demand democratic reforms, greater freedom and other economic and social improvements, demonstrations that were exploited by extremist groups. The Syrian authorities blamed the riots and the high number of dead and wounded, including many soldiers and troops from the security forces, on a foreign plot that used so-called armed terrorist gangs.

Official news media reported on Thursday the death of three security guards in an ambush near the city of Homs, at a time when opposition groups urged the people and members of the Army to join the demonstrations on Friday.

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