Bashar al-Assad has offered general amnesty for all crimes committed in Syria before today, provided those crimes don't actually have anything to do with the country's ongoing civil war. Assad's decree specifically excludes weapons smuggling, drug trafficking, and "terrorist crimes," which is the label his regime has given to any of the attacks made against his government by rebel fighters. It also appears as though the decree doesn't actually keep you from being punished. It reduces death sentences to a life of hard labor and life sentences to 20 years of hard labor, so Syrian prisoners locked in Assad's "torture centers" might not actually be getting much of a deal.
Assad has offered this general amnesty at least four times since the uprising began back in March of 2011, but it's doubtful that anyone has taken him up on it.. In the past it has been offered as a "generous" olive branch to those who protested peacefully against the government, although the image above gives you a good idea of how even the "peaceful" protesters feel about that. It's safe to say that by killing more than 30,000 of his own people over the last 18 months, Assad has used up all his good will and trust. And since last night's debate also made it clear that the United States and its allies won't be stepping in any time soon, it will be up to those rebels to ignore this offer and continue the fight.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.