Syria's Assad Issues General Amnesty for All “Criminals”

Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday issued a general amnesty for all prisoners, a possible concession to rebels ahead of a meeting meant to help end the bloody civil war. The pardon would be extended to "criminals"--a term often used by the regime to refer to political prisoners--whose crimes were committed before Tuesday. There were no further details about the plan, and no indications that prisoners had actually been released. Assad, who made the announcement live on state television, has been fighting rebels trying to unseat him for over two years. More than 100,000 people have been killed in the struggle that has sent millions of Syrians fleeing across the country's borders, destabilizing the region. Pardoning political prisoners is one of the pre-conditions demanded by the rebels before the international peace conference scheduled to take place at the end of November in Geneva.

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