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Syria Appoints New Governor for Daraa Region

An empty plinth at the site where the statue of late Syria President Hafez al-Assad was torn down and burnt during protests in Deraa (File)

Syria on Monday appointed a new governor in Daraa, a deadly flashpoint for recent protests against the government.

The appointment came as a prison fire killed at least eight prisoners and injured 17 in the port city of Latakia, which has also seen repeated demonstrations.

President Bashar al-Assad named Mohammad Khaled al-Hannus to administer affairs in Daraa after the previous governor, Faysal Kalthum, was fired last month amid the protests.

On Sunday, Assad appointed a former agriculture minister as the country's new prime minister and asked him to form a government. The moves are part of promised reforms by Assad but have not satisfied protesters.

Human rights groups say more than 60 people have been killed by security forces since the unrest began two weeks ago. But the government has blamed the deaths and the unrest on "armed groups."

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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