The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Ineffective legislative decrees and presidential pardons | Residents of Homs call for releasing detainees

The latest pardon issued by the Syrian regime’s president on Thursday has triggered irony and mockery among the residents of Homs city and countryside. The residents expressed their distrust of the regime government and its president who had issued several pardons which did not lead to the release of civilians who had been arbitrarily arrested by regime-security services.


SOHR sources in Homs city have confirmed that the latest pardon is similar to the previous pardons and decisions issued by Al-Assad and sided only with criminals and drug dealers, at a time when civilians from areas in Homs, which experienced anti-regime protests in the beginning of the Syrian Revolution, are exempted from such pardons.


Speaking to SOHR, a civilian known by his initials as M. T. from Deir Ba’labah neighbourhood said that his brother, who had been arrested by regime forces on Al-Sittin road to the east of Homs city centre in 2012, has been still imprisoned in Saydnaya, while his family is not allowed to visit him except for only one time every 45 days. The man said “every time we could obtain a card for visiting him in the prison, we find him in a worth case. We attempted to bring him under several pardons issued previously, but we failed set him free, because his case did not match the terms of those pardons.”


A lawyer known as H. B. who works in the military courthouse in Homs city told SOHR that most of the presidential pardons play out in favour of individuals from Alawite community a large number of whom have recently split from regime forces. The lawyer said “it is worth noting that there is a term compiled in all presidential pardons which drop sanctions imposed on individuals who fled internally and externally. According to this term, the regime army defectors are allowed to return to their military service in return for evading sanctions and punishment.”


In a testimony to SOHR, a regime dissident soldier known as A.H. from Deir Ba’labah neighbourhood expressed his absolute rejection of returning to military service, regardless the latest pardon. The man said that many of his relatives and neighbors were arrested, after having trusted the previous pardon and returned to their military services, and they have been still imprisoned in Saydnaya prison until now. The man has stressed on the importance of rebuilding trust between the regime’s decisions and the residents through adopting serious steps which are manifested in issuing a general and comprehensive pardon leading to the release of all detainees. Otherwise, all decisions could never change the stance of Syrian people who see the ruling class as criminals, as the man described.


It is worth noting that the Syrian regime’s president issued a Legislative Decree no. 36 of 2023 granting amnesty for all individuals involved in crimes that were committed before November 16, 2023.