William Hague welcomes Syria freedom move

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Foreign Secretary William Hague has welcomed the lifting of a state of emergency in Syria after 48 years but said there was "still much more to do".

The country's ruler President Bashar al-Assad scrapped emergency laws today after protesters demanded political reform as part of the Arab Spring sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.

More than 200 Syrian campaigners have been killed during unrest in the past month as Government security forces cracked down on protests.

Mr Hague described today's move as "a step forward".

He told Sky News: "It is part of what President Assad announced at the weekend and said he would do.

"It's only a part of a wider package of reforms and my judgment would be that he still has much more to do to meet the legitimate aspirations of the people of his country."

Mr Hague said though protests sweeping the region all demanded more freedom and democracy, there were differences among the nations involved.

He said: "Each situation in these countries is different. We should not try to translate what is happening in Libya on to Syria or Bahrain."

President Assad has ruled Syria for 11 years since succeeding his father.