Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has issued a new presidential decree granting pardon for crimes committed before September 14, 2019.
“President Bashar al-Assad issued Legislative Decree No. 20 of 2019, granting a general pardon for crimes committed before September 14, 2019,” the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported on September 15.
The decree pardons or eases the punishment of many crimes, including some listed under the 2012 Counter-Terrorism Law.
This step marks the first time the Damascus government issues a general pardon since the early years of the conflict. In the last few years, several pardons were issued. However, they were limited to military defectors and draft dodgers.
By issuing a general pardon for the first time in years, Damascus is likely working to assure Syrian refugees planning to return to the country.