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Syria releases 552 detainees arrested during months-long unrest

(Xinhua)

08:19, January 06, 2012

DAMASCUS, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government released Thursday a total of 552 detainees arrested during the months-long unrest, "whose hands were not smeared with Syrians' blood," state- run SANA news agency reported.

Another 755 detainees were freed last week by the government.

Since November, the authorities have set free as many as 3,399 detainees, as part of the government's pledges to release those who were arrested during the ten-month-old unrest.

Releasing those arrested during the unrest has topped the protesters' demands and was part of a deal concluded lately between the Syrian government and the Arab League (AL) ministerial committee to bring the Syrian crisis to a close.The AL-sponsored plan provides for ending all acts of violence, releasing all detainees, halting armed aspects across the country and allowing in Arab observer to monitor the Syrian crisis on ground.

Syria signed the AL observer protocol on Dec. 19 in the Egyptian capital of Cairo after the AL threatened to refer the Syrian crisis to the United Nations Security Council.

On Dec. 27, the AL mission started a month-long observation in violence-hit hot pots across Syria.

AL chief Nabil al-Arabi has recently said that Syrian military has pulled back from residential areas and is on the outskirts of the country's cities, calling Syria to withdraw all snipers out of cities and immediately halt all shootings.

The AL ministerial committee is set to meet Sunday in Cairo to discuss the first report submitted by the AL mission.

The Syrian government said a total of 2,000 army and security personnel were killed during the months-long unrest, while the United Nations put the toll at more than 5,000.

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