Syrian President Bashar Assad greets UN, Arab league envoy Lakhdar Brahimi - AP - October 21, 2012.
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, left, greets UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus, Syria, October 21, 2012. Photo by AP
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Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday issued a general amnesty, state-run television reported, and the opposition dismissed the decision as a sham.

The amnesty applies to all offenses committed before October 23 except for "terrorist crimes", added the broadcaster. The announcement comes days before the start of the Muslim festival of al-Adha on Friday.

"This is not a real amnesty. He (Assad) releases 100 prisoners and detains 500 others," Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told dpa.

United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhadr Brahimi is in Syria to try to secure a temporary ceasefire between government forces and the rebels over the holiday.

Syrian government officials have said that Damascus is in favor of the truce proposal, but would not commit itself to halting fire until the West and its Gulf allies stop supporting the rebels.

At least six people were killed in shelling attacks by government troops in the northern city of Aleppo, opposition activists said.

Four others were killed in an attack by government troops on the pro-rebel town of Harsta on the outskirts of Damascus, they added.