Syria grants amnesty for ‘terrorist crimes’ — Analysis

President Bashar Assad’s decree does not, however, pardon anyone involved in killings

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad made Saturday’s decree allowing amnesty to Syrians who have committed terrorist acts up to April 31st, with the exception of those that lead to death. Similar olive branches have been extended to criminals, deserters and fighters of opposition before to dismay the US.

Assad’s decree, first reported by Syrian state media on Saturday, “grants a general amnesty for terrorist crimes committed by Syrians before [Saturday], except for those that led to the death of a person.” 

The pardon exonerates terrorists of criminal prosecution but does not make them immune from civil lawsuits by others they might have hurt.

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Those pardoned would have been prosecuted under a 2012 anti-terrorism law and a 1949 provision of Syria’s legal code, and as such will affect the various terrorist groups fighting in Syria’s civil war, which began in 2011. With Russian assistance, Assad was able to keep control of Syria from a variety of rebel militias and terrorist organizations like Islamic State (formerly ISIS) or Al-Nusra Front.

Assad offers pardons every now and again to his adversaries over a period of more than ten years. Military deserters who didn’t take up arms with terrorists were given amnesty in 2018 and allowed to return to Syria, while a general amnesty for misdemeanors and juvenile crimes was granted in 2021.

Assad tried to offer amnesty for opposition fighters in return for their surrender at the beginning of the Syrian Civil War. This offer was rejected by the United States, with State Department official Victoria Nuland advising the opposition to ignore Assad’s offer and continue fighting.

Washington was accused by the Syrian Foreign Ministry. “inciting sedition”Follow this advice to: “supporting acts of killing and terrorism.” The war would continue, and Nuland would go on to oversee the violent overthrow of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2014, and is currently shaping US policy on Ukraine as President Biden’s under secretary of state for political affairs.

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