Syria issues amnesty for crimes during uprising

Assad grants pardon for offenses committed during 10-month protest, Syrian media reports; UN chief demands end to violence.

Assad making speech 311 (r) (photo credit: REUTERS/Syrian TV)
Assad making speech 311 (r)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Syrian TV)
BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar Assad has granted a general amnesty for crimes committed since the outbreak of a 10-month uprising against his rule, the state news agency SANA reported on Sunday.
It said the amnesty would cover "crimes committed in the context of the events that occurred from March 15, 2011, until January 15, 2012." It gave no further details.
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Also on Sunday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Syria's President Bashar Assad to halt violence against protesters and said the "old order" of dynasties and one-man rule in the Arab world was coming to an end.
"Today, I say again to President Assad of Syria: Stop the violence. Stop killing your people. The path of repression is a dead end," Ban told a conference in Lebanon on political reform.
The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed in Syria's crackdown on protests which erupted against Assad in March, inspired by other uprisings that toppled three Arab leaders last year.
Syria says 2,000 members of the government forces have been killed by "armed terrorists."
"From the very beginning of the ... revolutions, from Tunisia through Egypt and beyond, I called on leaders to listen to their people," Ban said. "Some did, and benefited. Others did not, and today they are reaping the whirlwind."
On reform in the region, Ban said the United Nations was supporting change in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.
"We are firmly committed to help Arab countries through this transition, by every means," he said.
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