Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has ordered an investigation into the deaths of civilians and troops amid countrywide protests and promised to consider lifting Syria’s emergency law. “The committee will work in accordance with the law provisions and may use the help of anyone it deems appropriate to accomplish the task entrusted to it,” said a report by the Syrian Arab News Agency. The judicial study should be completed before April 25. The 50-year-old emergency law allows the government to conduct “preventative arrests” and overrule constitutional and penal code statutes, and its abolishment is a key demand of angry street protests throughout the country. At least 16 people have been killed in violent clashes with troops on Wednesday, bringing the estimated total to 61 killed since protests began on March 16.