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    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued on Tuesday a decree granting a general amnesty, state television said.

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued on Tuesday a decree granting a general amnesty, state television said.

    The amnesty covers all those who "committed crimes before May 31, 2011, including representatives of political movements, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood," the decree said.

    It also orders prison terms to be halved for those who committed "grave crimes," if the plaintiff does not have objections.

    More than 1,000 people have been killed in clashes with police and security forces and over 10,000 protesters have been detained since protests demanding Assad's resignation broke out in Syria in mid-March, according to local human rights organizations.

    At least 23 protesters were killed in the latest crackdown on demonstrators by Syrian security forces in the central city of Homs and surrounding towns, which began two days ago.

    The United States and European Union have introduced sanctions against Syria over the use of force against protesters, with U.S. President Barack Obama calling on Assad to lead the transition to democracy or "get out of the way."

    Assad has promised political and economic reforms in the country, but protesters on Syrian streets continue to demand his resignation as the only thing that will make them return to their homes.

    DAMASCUS, May 31 (RIA Novosti)

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