Bashar al-Assad says his country's state of emergency will be lifted by next week. He made the announcement hours after his new cabinet was sworn in. 

It came a day after tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied in the capital, Damascus, in one of the biggest turnouts since protests began a month ago. 

The lifting of the 48-year-old emergency law has been a key demand of the protesters. The current unrest in Syria has been described as the most serious challenge facing Bashar al-Assad and his regime. 

Lifting the emergency laws was the latest in a series of concessions made in a bid to satisfy the public. 

Other concessions he has made include: Appointing a new cabinet, establishing committees to investigate the recent killing of civilians in the protests and granting Syrian citizenship to thousands of the country's Kurdish minority.

Inside Story, with presenter Darren Jordon, discusses with guests: Walid Saffour, the president of the Syrian Human Rights Committee; Ivan Eland, a senior fellow and director of the Centre on Peace and Liberty, at the Independent Institute. 

This episode of Inside Story aired on Sunday, April 17, 2011.

Source: Al Jazeera