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Lavrov calls Assad’s amnesty to army deserters a step towards reconciliation

October 09, 15:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Earlier on Tuesday, the Syrian president issued a decree on granting general amnesty to army deserters within and outside the country

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MOSCOW, October 9. /TASS/. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s decree on granting amnesty to army deserters should be viewed as a step towards national reconciliation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.

"Touching on the issue of pardoning deserters, probably, this is a step towards national reconciliation, towards creating conditions, which would suit those refugees who want to come back to Syria and internally displaced persons," Lavrov said. "We actively encourage this determination of the Syrian leadership."

Earlier, concerns were voiced that the refugees returning home would be discriminated and immediately drafted into the army, and no security guarantees would be provided to them, Lavrov said, noting that the so-called law number 10 aimed at expropriating property from refugees was cited as an example.

Russia is taking steps to help the Syrian government and its opponents reach mutually acceptable agreements, which would help people make a decision on returning home, the foreign minister noted.

The United Nations’ representatives and those who earlier voiced concerns discussed the law number 10 with the Syrian government. "In my view, now almost all disagreements and misunderstanding in connection with this document have been alleviated," Lavrov said.

"We will continue seeking to ensure that the processes of creating conditions for the return of refugees develop more actively," Russia’s top diplomat said. "Our military on the ground is making all efforts to help the Syrian authorities restore basic infrastructure, life support systems for citizens and we inform about those settlements where the conditions for return have been created and inform about this those countries where the refugees from Syria stay."

Earlier on Tuesday, the Syrian president issued a decree on granting general amnesty to army deserters within Syria and outside the country. Deserters won’t be subject to criminal prosecution under the law on military service in the republic. Under the amnesty, army deserters must turn themselves to the authorities within four months. Those who left Syria will have six months to surrender.

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