Syrian President Bashar Assad has sacked the governor of a key central city in the latest attempt to appease an uprising against his authoritarian rule.
State-run SANA news agency announced that Assad has fired the governor of Hama. The statement gave no details or reason for the sacking.
Hama has seen one of the deadliest government crackdowns during more than three months of protests against the Assad family's 40-year dynasty.
The president has offered vague promises of reform while unleashing his army and security services the crush the protests. The growing death toll has fuelled the uprising.
Activists say the regime has killed more than 1,400 people - mostly unarmed protesters - since mid-March, but the government disputes that toll.
Yesterday nineteen people were reported killed as Syrian army forces spread through a restive mountainous area near the Turkish border.
The action by Syrian troops in the north-western area of Jabal al-Zawiya appeared to be aimed at preventing residents from fleeing to Turkey, where more than 10,000 Syrians have already taken shelter in refugee camps, activists say.
Over the past week, more than 10,000 Syrians rushed across, fleeing their army's violent crackdown against demonstrators.