Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has issued a new general amnesty decree for crimes committed in the country before April 16, 2013.
“President Assad has issued decree number 23, granting a general amnesty for crimes committed” prior to Tuesday, the Syrian state news agency, SANA, reported on Tuesday.
The agency added that under the decree, the death penalty of the criminals will be commuted to a life sentence.
According to the President’s decree, Syrians “who joined a terrorist organization will only have to serve a quarter of their sentences.”
“The decision does not apply to those who avoided conscription,” the decree added.
Damascus has repeatedly called on the armed foreign-sponsored militants to lay down their weapons and engage in a dialogue with the government.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government has said that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and that a very large number of the militants operating in the country are foreign nationals.
Several international human rights organizations have accused the foreign-sponsored militants of committing war crimes.