The Syrian government has slaughtered at least 37 civilians to date. Does the Obama administration have a set number they use to decide when it’s a “humanitarian” mission?

DARAA, Syria (AP) — The Syrian government pledged Thursday to consider lifting draconian restrictions on political freedom and civil liberties in an attempt to quell a week-long uprising that protesters say has left dozens fatally shot by security forces.

Presidential adviser Buthaina Shaaban told reporters in the capital, Damascus, that President Bashar Assad’s government would consider lifting a state of emergency, in place since 1963, that allows people to be arrested without warrants and imprisoned without trial.

She said the government was drafting a law that would allow political parties besides the ruling Baath party. It is also raising salaries for public servants and looking at better ways to fight corruption, she said.

The pledges appeared unlikely to satisfy protesters in the southern city of Daraa, where thousands called for liberty in defiance of a deadly government crackdown as they took to the streets in funeral marches for protesters killed by police gunfire, an activist said.

Media access to the marches was restricted but an Associated Press reporter heard sporadic bursts of gunfire echoing through the city in the afternoon. Almost all shops were shuttered, the streets were virtually empty and soldiers and anti-terrorism police stopped people at checkpoints and manned many intersections — the heaviest security presence since the unrest began.

The activist, who is in contact with residents of Daraa, told The Associated Press that massive crowds shouted “Syria, freedom!” as they marched toward one of the agricultural hub’s main cemeteries. . .

Syrian police launched a relentless assault Wednesday on a neighborhood sheltering anti-government protesters, fatally shooting many in an operation that lasted nearly 24 hours, witnesses said.

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