US advises Syrians against surrendering to regime

The US State Department on Friday advised Syrians
against turning themselves in to regime authorities
© AFP/File Louai Beshara

AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US State Department on Friday advised Syrians against surrendering to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime after Damascus announced an amnesty for those who give up their weapons.

“I wouldn’t advise anybody to turn themselves in to regime authorities at the moment,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters amid apparent concerns for the welfare of those who might do so.

Nuland, who said the Assad regime has so far failed to live up to a deal struck Wednesday with the Arab League to stop nearly eight months of violence, underlined her skepticism about the amnesty offer.

“This would be about the fourth amnesty that they’ve offered since I took this job about five months ago,” she told reporters. “So we’ll see if it has any more traction than it’s had in the past.”

The Syrian interior ministry announced an amnesty on Friday for people who surrender their weapons between Saturday and November 12 in a concession to mark the Eid al-Adha feast, state television reported.

It invited “those who carry arms, who sold them, distributed them, bought them or financed their purchase and who have not committed any murder to turn themselves in and surrender their weapons to the nearest police station,” it said.

Those who heed the call “will walk free… and receive an amnesty,” it added.

Syrian authorities have used force to crush almost daily anti-regime protests since mid-March, and more than 3,000 people have been killed according to UN estimates.

Assad has twice ordered general amnesties since the conflict erupted, the first time on May 31 for all political prisoners including the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

In June the president issued a second decree “granting a general amnesty for crimes committed before June 20, 2011,” the state-run SANA news agency reported at the time.

© AFPPublished at Activist Post with license

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