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Bashar Al-Assad, performs Eid prayers in the Hamad Mosque in Damascus in August, 2012.

SANA/AP

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, where more than 33,000 people have been killed in 19 months of conflict, issued a law on GM food Thursday to preserve human life, state-run SANA news agency reported.

Assad, whose forces are locked in a bloody confrontation with armed rebels opposed to his rule, "has approved a law on the health security of genetically modified organisms… to regulate their use and production," SANA reported.

The law is meant "to preserve the health of human beings, animals, vegetables and the environment," the agency added.

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Violence in Syria has killed at least 33,000 people, most of them civilians, since it erupted in March last year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.

The revolt began as pro-reform protests but morphed into an armed insurgency when demonstrations were brutally crushed, with some 100 dead each day.

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