Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has granted an amnesty for all crimes committed during the past 10 months of political unrest, according to state media reports.
According to the Sana state news agency, the amnesty will apply to army deserters who turn themselves in before the end of January and peaceful protesters who handed in unlicensed weapons.
More than 14,000 people have reportedly been detained since the uprising began in March last year.
News of the amnesty comes a week after Al-Assad blamed a foreign conspiracy for the political violence in Syria in a live televised address.
In the televised address on 10 January, Assad said that the “external conspiracy is clear to everybody”.
“Regional and international sides have tried to destabilise the country,” he added.
On the 26 December, a team of Arab League monitors entered Syria to oversee a deal that would protect civilians and put an end to the violence. Syria let the monitors into the country to avoid the threat of sanctions from the Cairo-based organisation.
The presence of Arab League monitors in Syria has failed to halt the violence, with at the death of at least three more civilians on 9 January, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The UN estimates that more than 5,000 civilians have been killed since protests began in March last year.