THE authorities in Syria set a deadline of 15 days for people who had committed “unlawful acts” to give themselves up, as a wave of arrests was reported across the country.
The ultimatum came as activists planned fresh anti-government demonstrations following the deaths of dozens of people in weekend protests.
The interior ministry told “citizens who have participated in or committed unlawful acts such as bearing arms, attacking security or spreading lies to surrender by May 15 and hand their weapons in to the competent authorities”.
It also called on Syrians to “supply information about saboteurs, terrorists and arms caches... they will be spared any subsequent legal consequences”.
A military spokesman announced the arrest of 499 people in the southern town of Daraa, a week after thousands of troops backed by tanks swooped on the town to crush protests.
He also announced the deaths of two members of the security forces “as well as 10 terrorists”.
According to the opposition Syrian Revolution 2011 website, security forces also entered the Kafar Nubbol area, 320km north of Damascus, and took over houses and arrested 26 people.
The site urged Syrians across the country to mobilise every day at noon in solidarity with Daraa and all “besieged towns”.
“We say to this regime: ‘The court of the people will judge you’,” it said.
Hundreds of dissidents were arrested on Sunday, including in Daraa and the besieged Damascus suburb of Douma.
It is estimated that since demonstrations erupted in Syria on March 15 the civilian death toll has topped 580.
French foreign minister Alain Juppe said President Bashar al-Assad’s regime will fall if it continues its bloody crackdown.
“If the regime perseveres down this path, it will fall, one day or another, but it will fall,” Juppe said.
“Today there is this great hope for freedom and democracy. You must take this into account and putting it down by firing live rounds into crowds is unacceptable, whichever country does it,” he said.
British prime minister David Cameron denounced the “disgraceful” crackdown and urged more global pressure against Damascus.
The US has blocked assets of Assad’s brother Maher, who commands the feared Fourth Armoured Division, as well as top officials and Syria’s intelligence services.
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