Syria releases 553 prisoners ahead of Eid


The Syrian government released on Saturday a total of 553 prisoners arrested during the seven-month-long unrest on the occasion of the Muslim holiday of Eid-ul-Adha, the state-run TV reported.

The released prisoners did not commit homicide crimes, the TV said, adding that another 119 detainees have been recently released, reported Xinhua.

Activists said that about 15,000 people have been detained during the unrest in Syria.

The release of those arrested during the unrest topped the demands of protesters and was part of a deal concluded lately between the Syrian government and the Arab League ministerial committee to bring the Syrian crisis to a close.

Still the government has not announced when the other prisoners will be set free.

The Arab League plan was endorsed on November 2, calling for ending violence and withdrawing military vehicles from Syrian streets, in addition to releasing detainees and holding a dialogue between the Syrian authorities and the opposition.

Eid-ul-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, is one of the most important feasts on the Muslim calendar. Releasing prisoners during national holidays is common in Syria.

Since taking office in July 2000, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has ordered to release hundreds of political detainees.