DAMASCUS, April 16 (Xinhua) -- The newly-reshuffled cabinet is sworn in before Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday, as he presided over the cabinet's first meeting, official SANA news agency reported.
On March 29, al-Assad accepted the resignation of the cabinet headed by Naji al-Otari, who has been in place since 2003, to help quell a wave of popular fury that erupted about a month ago.
Syria blames the unrest on armed gangs and foreign conspiracy.
Media reports put the number of those who were killed since the beginning of the unrest in mid-March at 200. President al-Assad has made a series of gestures of reform, including reshuffling his cabinet and releasing hundreds of political detainees.
The reshuffle, which aims to improve the government's performance, brought in 16 new ministers to the cabinet.