Assad offers amnesty to rebels who surrender

Announces deal for rebels who lay down their arms to Assad forces over the next three months. Russia and Syria discuss opening humanitarian corridors to aid civilians and surrendering militants.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Bashar al Assad seen at a meeting in Damascus.

Syria’s Bashar al Assad has announced an amnesty deal for rebels who lay down their arms and surrender to his forces over the next three months.

The deal was issued through a decree on state-run news agency SANA on Thursday and also urged that all prisoners held by the rebels be freed. 

"Everyone carrying arms...and sought by excluded from full punishment if they hand themselves in and lay down their weapons," SANA announced.

The offer comes in the wake of a regime offensive that has succeeded in encircling rebels in the eastern part of Aleppo.

Syrian regime forces and their allies have completely surrounded the main rebel enclave in the city of Aleppo and are urging the rebel fighters there to surrender. But humanitarian groups have stated that a major catastrophe could take place if the siege on the rebel-held areas of Aleppo continues.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, second left, visits the Hemeimeem Air Base in Syria. (Russian Defence Ministry Press Service Pool Photo via AP, file)

Humanitarian corridors

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has said Russia and the Syrian regime will open three humanitarian corridors "to aid civilians held hostage by terrorists and for militants wishing to lay down their arms" and one more corridor to the north of the city for rebels to leave.

Shoigu stated Moscow would sending a top general and experts to Geneva at request of US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the crisis surrounding Aleppo.

Aleppo governor Mohammad Marwan Olabi has said regime will offer civilians who leave the city temporary accommodation. Fliers have been dropped in rebel-held parts of Aleppo, urging people to take the Syrian regime’s offer of humanitarian corridors.

The regime closed the main road into rebel-held areas on July 17, effectively besieging the rebels and 300,000 civilian residents.

UN Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said he hopes peace talks aimed at ending Syria’s brutal civil war could resume by the end of August.

TRTWorld and agencies