Beirut: Syria's government passed a bill on Tuesday lifting emergency law in the country, the official state news agency said.

A senior lawyer said President Bashar Al Assad has to sign the legislation for it to take effect but that the his signature was a formality.

The agency said the cabinet has approved lifting the country's nearly 50-year-old state of emergency laws - a key demand of protesters.

The SANA news agency says the government Tuesday also abolished the state security court, which handled the trials of political prisoners, and approved a new law allowing the right to peaceful protests.

But it's unclear whether the moves will ease the crackdown on anti-government demonstrators. Just hours earlier, authorities issued a stern warning for protesters to back down.

More details to come.