By Ria Novosti
Syrian authorities on Thursday freed 552 people arrested during anti-government protests, the national TV channel Syria reported.
Those freed do “not have blood on their hands,” according to the report.
A group of 50 Arab League monitors arrived in Syria in late December on a month-long mission to implement a plan calling for the withdrawal of the military from towns and residential districts, a halt to violence against civilians and the release of detainees.
The Syrian opposition has called the Arab League’s mission “a farce” after Sudanese Lt. Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, who heads the mission, said that the situation in Syria was calm and reassuring.
Damascus blamed Washington on Wednesday over “the rude interference” in the Arab League’s monitoring mission in Syria, following the State Department spokeswoman’s criticism of Syrian authorities.
The release of those who were arrested during upheavals is one of the main demands of the Syrian opposition leaders. The say the move is needed for the inception of a peaceful dialogue and settlement of the crisis.
In late November, Syrian authorities freed 912 protesters. Other 755 were released on December 28.
The UN says President Bashar Assad’s crackdown on the protests, inspired by uprisings across the Arab world this year, has killed more than 5,000 people. The authorities blame armed gangs for the violence and say 1,100 soldiers and police have been killed.