Syria's President Bashar al Assad is promising amnesty for people he previously labeled terrorists. But is he telling the truth or is it just propaganda? (Via Flickr / James Gordon)
This would be Assad's widest-ranging amnesty announcement since Syria's civil war began three years ago. Still, it's very vague.
"State television made the announcement but It was not immediately clear who would be included." (Via Euronews)
But we do know a few things about Assad's promise — and we can speculate about others. Syria's government is holding an estimated 100,000 people in captivity. This isn't the first time amnesty has been offered, but it is the first time it's been extended to people labeled "terrorists," a word Assad uses loosely. Also, the announcement might be meant as a gesture toward peace talks.
According to The Daily Star in neighboring Lebanon, pro-regime media predicted, "The authorities were on the verge of taking a number of steps they said would bolster the process of 'national reconciliation' – a term the regime uses for its negotiated cease-fires with rebel groups."
The amnesty announcement comes one week after Assad won a landslide victory in an election denounced as a sham by the western world, including the European Union and the U.S. (Via Voice of America)
JOHN KERRY: "They are meaningless because you can't have an election where millions of your people don't even have the ability to vote." (Via MSNBC)
Syria's three-year civil war has claimed at least 150,000 lives and displaced about 2.5 million people. The war's several cease fires have been brief and unproductive. (Via Sky News)
Last year a United Nations official said the world had not seen refugees flee their homes at "such a frightening rate since the Rwandan genocide almost 20 years ago ."