News In Brief

Change in Syrian Cabinet may ease Assad's burden

A new Syrian Cabinet is expected to be formed within the next few days, but diplomatic sources said they expected no change in government policy on major foreign and domestic issues.

The 37-member Cabinet resigned Tuesday and President Hafez Assad asked Prime Minister Abdel Rauf al-Kasm to form a new government.

The sources said the move did not come as a surprise.

Speculation of a shake-up of the four-year-old Cabinet mounted during Mr. Assad's illness last year, and sources said it seems he wants a vice-president to share his burden.

The diplomatic sources said Syria's Cabinet does not initiate policy, normally following outlines mapped out by the regional command of the ruling Baath Socialist Party, Syria's highest decisionmaking body.

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