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  • » 01/16/2012, 00.00


    Assad offers amnesty, Arab League discusses military intervention

    The act of clemency would apply to crimes committed during the ten months of unrest, and to deserters. Qatar sheikh calls for Arab troops deployment to the country to the stop the killing. He had taken the initiative against Gaddafi in Libya.
    Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has granted a general amnesty for all crimes committed during the 10-month uprising, state-run media report. The initiative would apply to army deserters who turn themselves in before the end of January, peaceful protesters and those who hand in unlicensed weapons.

    Thousands of people have been detained in the past year. However, it is impossible to verify independently the actual numbers provided by the opposition because foreign journalists are banned, with few exceptions, from the country.

    The cycle of violence by both sides (security forces and armed deserters) continues despite the presence of 160 Arab League observers to monitor the situation and write a report.

    This is not Assad’s first amnesty for opponents in recent months. However, for analysts, the initiative is not likely to change the socio-political situation, even if it was discussed with Arab League observers, the ad-Dunia TV network reported.

    In past offers of clemency, there were few takers and the authorities do not appear to have honoured their promise.

    In a rare public speech last week, President Bashar al-Assad accused foreign powers of trying to destabilise Syria. In his address, he pledged to crush the “terrorists” with an “iron fist” (see “Assad: we will declare victory soon against the international conspiracy,” in AsiaNews, 1 January 2012).

    The Arab League now appears to have taken the initiative. Its chief, Nabil al-Arabi, said yesterday that a ministerial meeting this week could discuss a Qatari proposal to send Arab troops to unrest-hit Syria. “All ideas will be open for discussion,” he told reporters when asked if next Saturday’s meeting would debate the proposal.

    Even though Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said that “Some troops should go to stop the killing” in Syria, Jabr al-Shoufi, a member of the Syrian National Council, noted that the Syrian government will likely use force to stop Arab troops from entering the country.

    For his part, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki said that he was against the proposal of the Qatari leader, who led the Arab world in the Libya action, because it could set off an explosion that would “spread across the whole region”.
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    See also

    22/12/2011 SYRIA
    Arab League mission to Damascus raises doubts
    Assad was able to get the protocol changed. Now 150 League observers will be accompanied by soldiers and submit regular reports to the Syrian government. Opposition calls for UN intervention. About 250 people are killed in the last two days.

    16/11/2011 SYRIA
    Syria increasingly isolated as Turkey and Saudi Arabia inch closer to a Libya-style intervention
    Ankara threatens to cut off power supplies, predicting a tragic end for Assad. Arab League summit in Rabat is set to suspend formally Syria. Some 500 League observers arrive in Damascus to monitor the situation of civilians. Rebels attack military base in Harasta.

    10/01/2012 SYRIA
    President Bashar al-Assad set to address the crisis in Syria, violence continues
    The Syrian leader will speak of the internal crisis and its effects on a regional and international level. June 20, 2011 he addressed the nation, with promises of reforms that were not implemented. Controversy shrouds the mission of Arab League observers.

    17/02/2012 SYRIA - UN
    UN General Assembly condemns Syria
    The non-binding resolution was supported by 137 in favour, 12 against and 17 abstentions. It does not criticize opposition violence. Ban Ki-moon calls on Assad to stop possible "crimes against humanity". Russian and Chinese envoys in Damascus; in Tunis, Western and Arab countries studying support maybe even military intervention. No attention paid to what Syrian people want.

    17/07/2012 SYRIA
    As fighting reaches Damascus, apostolic nuncio expects dark days ahead
    Mgr Mario Zenari describes the tensions residents face. For the past two days, the capital has been the scene of fighting between rebels and the Republican Guard, with 64 dead. The witness of nuns from Azeir monastery (Homs) is a sign of hope for Christians, Alawis and Sunnis.

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