Syria’s President has ratified an end to the country’s 50-year-old state of emergency.

Thursday’s move was a formality after the government abolished the emergency laws two days ago.

President Bashar Assad is trying to calm angry protests against his authoritarian rule by issuing a series of concessions. The emergency law allowed the regime a free hand to arrest people without charge.

Mr. Assad also has launched a brutal crackdown on increasingly large demonstrations.

Activists say at least 200 people have been killed in the government crackdown since the protests erupted last month.

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