15 Dec 2018 18:36

Syrian servicemen who went AWOL during war granted amnesty

DAMASCUS. Dec 15 (Interfax) - More than 16,500 Syrian troops who illegally abandoned their military base during the war have been amnestied by President Bashar al-Assad's decree, Mohammed Ganju al-Hasan, head of the Syrian military justice department, told reporters.

"The amnesty has been in place since the date of coming into force - October 9, 2018. From the very first day deserters started applying for amnesty with the Syrian authorities. To date, amnesty has been received by over 16,500 servicemen who abandoned their military bases during the war," al-Hasan said.

The deserters who are currently in Syria can apply for amnesty within four months from the decree effective date; those who already left the country can do so within six months, he said.

All amnesty applications are considered within 24 hours, he said. "In Damascus, 100 of such cases are considered on average daily," the official said.

According to the procedure spelt out in the decree, once granted amnesty a serviceman must return to the base within 24 hours.