Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday said rebels fighting the government regime will be granted amnesty if they surrender. "Everyone carrying arms...and sought by excluded from full punishment if they hand themselves in and lay down their weapons," Assad was quoted as saying by state news agency SANA.

Rebels who free hostages will also be given this reprieve, he said, quoting a presidential decree on the three-month clemency offer. Assad's announcement comes at a time when pro-government forces have surrounded opposition areas in Aleppo city, AFP reported. More than 200,000 people are trapped there.

In recent years, Assad has issued a number of such amnesties, including one in July 2015 for those who defected from the army. Earlier this week, Syria's envoy in the United Nations, Staffan de Mistura, said he hopes talks to reinforce a ceasefire in the war-ridden country resume in August.

Two blasts in the predominantly Kurdish city of Qamishli in Syria left at least 50 dead and dozens injured on Wednesday. More than 280,000 people have been killed in Syria in the five years since the war began in March 2011.