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Syrian government resigns amid unrest

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Syrian cabinet resigns
  • NEW: The president is expected to speak on Wednesday
  • A new government will be named shortly, a government spokeswoman says
  • The government has resigned, state TV reports
  • At least 37 people have been killed in demonstrations since last week, the U.N. says

(CNN) -- The Syrian government resigned Tuesday amid an unusual wave of unrest that has roiled the nation, state TV reported.

President Bashar al-Assad accepted the resignations Tuesday, the same day that tens of thousands of Syrians poured onto the streets of Damascus to demonstrate in favor of the government.

A new government should be named within hours, said Reem Haddad, a spokeswoman for the Syrian Information Ministry.

Meanwhile, the president is expected to address the nation in a speech before the People's Assembly at 11 a.m. (5 a.m. ET) Wednesday, state TV said.

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The state-run SANA news agency reported the speech would "reassure the Syrian people."

The pro-government rally on Tuesday followed violent clashes between protesters and security forces in the cities of Daraa and Latakia in recent days. At least 37 people have been killed since last week, according to the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Syria is the latest in a string of Arabic-speaking nations beset with discontent over economic and human rights issues. Syria's discontent is centered in Daraa, a southern city in the impoverished country's agricultural region, where security forces and anti-government protesters have sporadically clashed for nearly two weeks.

Many demonstrators at the pro-government rally held posters of the president. Others waved Syrian flags, while some painted their faces and chests in national colors.

Crowds filled the square in front of the Central Bank and jammed all roads leading to it, aerial pictures on state TV showed.

There were also pro-government rallies in the cities of Aleppo, Hama and Hasaka, the broadcaster said.

CNN's Yousuf Basil contributed to this report