US to Syrian protesters: Say no to amnesty offer

November 9, 2011 - 3:50 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is telling Syrian protesters not to take up their government's offer of "amnesty" — reinforcing earlier advice that has angered President Bashar Assad.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner says it would be unwise for the demonstrators to turn themselves in given the Assad government's "track record of lawlessness, of torture and thuggery against the opposition."

The U.S. spoke out against the amnesty offer last week, and Syria claimed that the warning was proof of U.S. involvement in Syria's unrest.

State-run media said the U.S. "prompting armed groups to continue committing murders." The U.S. has dismissed similar Syrian claims as baseless.

Toner says Syria's transition from dictatorship to democracy should be peaceful. He says Assad's government was trying to deflect attention while it commits violence each day.