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Sunday, April 03, 2005 

End of the holiday: 30th April

"All Syrian troops, military assets and the intelligence apparatus will have been withdrawn fully and completely latest by 30 April 2005." They were the words of Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq Ash-Shara'a.

The important thing about today's announcement is that it came from Shara'a. He's the head of Syria's 'Old Guard' - hangups from former President Hafez Al-Assad's 30 year iron-grip rule.

Hafez died in 2000 paving the way for his reformer son Bashar to take the reins of power. It was feared that people like Shara'a would delay or block the withdrawal and plunge Syria's relationship with America into turmoil.

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