Syria: Over 20 dead as government offers amnesty
Rights activists said Syrian security forces shot and killed at least 23 people and wounded dozens of others after Friday prayers casting doubts whether President Assad regime can implement the Arab League plan to stop the bloodshed and get out of the crisis. On its part, the Syrian television reported that the government gave armed elements one week from to surrender as long as they "did not commit murder offense."
This gesture does not appear to be part of the AL plan which Syria accepted on Wednesday. It includes army withdrawal from the cities, the release of political prisoners and a dialogue with the opposition. When a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department asked whether she believes that Syrians must accept the offered amnesty, she replied: "I do not advise anyone to surrender to the authorities at this time."
She accused the Syrian government of not implementing the Arab plan and added that the U.S. does not trust its will.
Security forces opened fire on the protests that erupted after Friday prayers in a number of towns and activists said they had killed at least seven people in the town of Knaker to the south of Damascus. Nine died in the city of Homs, where tanks were used again.
Activists said other protesters were killed in the city of Hama, located 240 kilometers north of Damascus, when security forces opened fire on several thousands of protesters who tried to rally from the main square.