Assad extends amnesty offer to surrendering rebels

Damascus: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday extended an amnesty, announced last year, till the end of next June, for all rebels who surrender themselves to the Syrian army, state news agency SANA reported.

The presidential pardon covers all those who have held weapons in the face of the government and fugitives as well as kidnappers on condition to surrender themselves during the time of the pardon.

It was the third extension to the amnesty since it was first announced in late July last year.

The government considers the amnesty as a golden chance for the rebels who want to abandon their insurgency, and it was applied for tens of rebels who have surrendered themselves during the past months.

This comes as Syrian government and opposition delegations are set to embark on talks in Geneva at the end of February, a month after rebels and government representatives agreed to a nationwide cease-fire brokered by Turkey and Russia, which went into force on December 30.