Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has signed into effect a law imposing the death penalty on anyone arming "terrorists", state media said on Tuesday amid mounting clashes with rebel troops.
"The law provides for the death penalty for anyone providing weapons or helping to provide weapons intended for the carrying out of terrorist acts," the official SANA news agency said.
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The decree also imposes life imprisonment with hard labour for arms smuggling "for profit or to carry out acts of terrorism," and 15 years' hard labour for arms smuggling for other purposes.
The Syrian authorities contend that protests raging since March are the work of "armed terrorists" not civilian demonstrators as maintained by Western governments and human rights groups.
The UN General Assembly on Monday overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning human rights abuses during the authorities' crackdown on the protests, which the world body says has left more than 5,000 people dead.