UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on the president of Syria to bring a stop to the continued bloodshed in his country, saying the "old order" of one-family rules is over in the Middle East.
Speaking at an Arab world democracy conference in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, Ban demanded that President Bashar al-Assad "stop killing [his] own people."
"Today, I say again to President Assad of Syria: Stop the violence. Stop killing your own people. The path of repression is a dead end. The lessons of the past year are eloquent and clear," Ban said.
Ban's call came as Assad decreed a general amnesty for crimes committed during the unrest.
Syria's official SANA news agency reported the amnesty would apply to army deserters who turn themselves in before the end of the month, peaceful protesters, and those who hand in unlicensed weapons.
The amnesty offer, one of several made by Assad in the past several months, does not address the issue of how to bring the conflict to an end.
The UN estimates that more than 5,000 people have been killed in the Syrian government's crackdown on a 10-month-old uprising against Assad's autocratic regime.
compiled from agency reports