Assad declares amnesty for Syrian prisoners

Syrian state media is reporting that President Bashar Assad has declared a general amnesty for prisoners in the country.


The decree comes just five days after Assad won a third, seven-year term in office amid the 3-year-old civil war in his country. It was not clear how many -- if any -- prisoners will be freed.


The report Monday by the state-run SANA news agency did not say if the amnesty would apply to the tens of thousands of opposition supporters and their relatives activists say are held in the country.


SANA's report suggested it would reduce prisoners' sentences without freeing them. Government officials could not be immediately reached to explain the decision.


Syria's pro-government Al Ikhbariya television station quoted the justice minister as saying that the presidential decree was issued in the "context of social tolerance and national unity." (Associated Press)