Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has declared a general amnesty for crimes committed before Tuesday, the latest in a series of similar decrees since the uprising against his rule began more than two years ago.
State media carried reports of the order, which comes a day before a national holiday celebrating Syria's 1946 independence.
Assad last issued an amnesty decree in October.
Meanwhile, the heads of five United Nations agencies charged with assisting those affected by the Syrian crisis say there is a lack of urgency among governments and other parties that could stop the bloodshed.
The U.N.'s humanitarian chief, the high commissioner for refugees, and the leaders of the World Food Program, World Health Organization and U.N. Children's Fund called on leaders to "meet their responsibility" to the Syrian people.
They urged officials to insist on a political solution, and said the U.N. is "precariously close" to suspending some humanitarian aid.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.