Bashar al Assad appealed to army deserters, to peaceful protesters and those who bear unregistered guns to hand themselves in by the end of the month to benefit from an amnesty, reports state run Syrian Arab News Agency.
The decree, according to SANA, grants general amnesty for 'crimes' committed between March 15, 2011, and January 15, 2012.
The amnesty decree follows the recent release of 5,000 prisoners by the Syrian government under a deal struck with the Arab League, but thousands of people are still believed to be in prison.
Meanwhile, UN secretary Ban Ki Moon called on Assad to end the violence. "Today, I say again to President Assad of Syria: Stop the violence. Stop killing your people," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said during a conference on Arab world democracy in Lebanon. "The path of repression is a dead end."
More than 5,000 civilians have been killed up to now, says the UN that has been granted no access to the country by Assad’s regime. Access is also denied to journalists. The number of deaths among members of the security forces is not known.
Thousands of people across Syria continue to take to the streets calling for an end to the Assad regime. At the same time thousands of pro Assad Syrians gather to show their support to the regime, raising fears that the situation might escalate into a disastrous civil war.
Intervention by other countries, such as Qatar and Turkey, is not ruled out as a possibility. Turkish Prime Minister Tayep Regip Erdogan has repeatedly called for military international intervention and the ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, is the first Arab leader who has publicly called for military intervention in Syria.
According to Arab League monitors, there is a real danger of a civil war breaking out soon.
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