Assad offers conditional amnesty to Syrian military deserters

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NICOSIA — Syrian President Bashar Assad has offered another amnesty
to military deserters.

The Assad regime has declared an amnesty to deserters who return to
their military units. A government statement said the offer would not apply
to those who sought to undermine the Assad regime, even through non-violent

Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“Army deserters may be pardoned, if those still in Syria hand themselves
in within 30 days, and those outside Syria hand themselves in within 90
days,” the presidential statement said.

The April 16 statement, called Decree No. 23, said the amnesty was for
offenses committed until April 16, 2013. The amnesty also included the
commutation of the death sentence for those who financed the two-year-old Sunni revolt.

“Those who conspired to carry out a terrorist act have their sentence
reduced by a quarter, and those who knew about such an act and did not
inform the authorities are covered by the amnesty,” the statement said.

The statement, released on Syrian independence day, marked the latest
amnesty offered by the Assad regime. The Syrian opposition asserted that
previous offers were not honored by the regime.

The amnesty would not cover arms smugglers or those who held anti-Assad
leaflets that supported what the statement termed terrorism. Those who
fought the regime would also not benefit from the amnesty.

“This will reinforce social reconciliation, national cohesion, and
[promote] the need to live together on the occasion of this public holiday,”
Syrian Justice Minister Najem Ahmed said.

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