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Middle east

Assad grants criminal amnesty as new violence flares

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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-10-23

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued an amnesty on Tuesday for all crimes committed before today except for the crimes of "terrorists" – the regime's term for anti-regime rebels – as fresh violence flared across the country.

President Bashar al-Assad issued an amnesty for all crimes committed in Syria "up until today" with the notable exception of "terrorist crimes", state television said on Tuesday.

Assad, who has been fighting a 19-month-long revolt against his regime, "decreed a general amnesty for crimes committed before October 23" except for those carried out by "terrorists" – the regime's term for anti-regime rebel fighters.

Deadly clashes in Syria showed no signs of easing despite UN plans to assemble a peacekeeping force in case a truce proposed this week by special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is allowed to take hold.

Warplanes raided a district of the northern city of Aleppo as fighting across the country kept up unabated, three days ahead of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha, for which peace envoy Brahimi has proposed the ceasefire.

"Neither the rebels nor the regime appear to want a ceasefire, and the daily death toll continues to exceed 100," Syrian Observatory of Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

In Syria's second city Aleppo, a rebel was killed in fighting, which was taking place in several districts, while planes bombed the Katergi quarter, the Observatory said.

In the Damascus provincial town of Harasta, at least two rebels were killed, the Britain-based group said.

In the capital itself, security forces carried out searches in the Zahira quarter, where gunfire could be heard. Overnight, one man was killed in a bomb attack on the southeastern outskirts of Damascus.

The Observatory also reported fighting in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor and in Daraa, southern Syria.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-10-23

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