DAMASCUS (Xinhua) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday issued a general amnesty, according to the state news agency SANA. The pardon reportedly covers crimes committed before May 2, according to the presidential decree issued by Assad. However, it excludes some crimes such as arms and bombs dealing as well as smuggling and murder. This comes as the presidential elections scheduled to take place later this month with Assad and 50 other people submitting their applications. During the 10-year war, Assad issued several pardons.