DAMASCUS, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday issued a general amnesty, according to the state news agency SANA.
The presidential pardon covers crimes committed before Sept. 24, except for the fugitives, who must surrender themselves to benefit from the amnesty.
The decree minimizes some sentences from execution to life-time hard labor imprisonment. It also covers military service penalties.
It's not the first time Assad issues such a pardon.
However, the amnesty comes at a time the Syrian army has regained much of the country after more than eight years of war.
The army has recently captured key areas in the northwestern Idlib province and secured the northern countryside of Hama province in central Syria from the rebels.
The last general amnesty was granted in 2014 and later on, Assad issued a number of amnesties specifically for military service penalties.