Syria’s Assad offers amnesty to military deserters and dodgers to encourage refugee returns

President Bashar al-Assad has made an unprecedented offer of amnesty for military deserters and draft dodgers in the hope of encouraging Syrians to return home.

In a decree issued on official social media feeds, the government said they will not receive any punishment but would still have to serve the mandatory two years of service.

Those who defected and joined the Free Syrian Army (FSA) or other rebel groups who fought against regime forces are blacklisted, however, and will therefore not be given clemency.