BEIRUT — Ahead of what could turn out to be a decisive day for Syria, protesters took credit Thursday for forcing President Bashar Assad to lift the country’s 50-year state of emergency and brushed off his attempts to placate the monthlong uprising against his authoritarian regime.
Activists said they were planning the biggest protests to date Friday against Assad, who inherited power from his late father 11 years ago but has failed to deliver on early promises of sweeping reform. The uprising has posed the biggest challenge to the 40-year ruling dynasty of the Assad family.
The president has been trying to defuse the protests by launching a bloody crackdown along with a series of concessions, most recently lifting emergency laws that gave authorities almost boundless powers of surveillance and arrest.
He also has fulfilled a decades-old demand by granting citizenship to thousands among Syria’s long-ostracized Kurdish minority, fired local officials, released detainees and formed a new government.