Syrian President Bashar al-Assad granted an interview to French media recently. In here, he expressed confidence in his victory against the “terrorists” in a civil war that almost destroyed his country. The interview will air on Monday. He said that retaking Aleppo did not mean victory for them. Victory for him means that the government has “eliminated all terrorists.” He said this via French translation in his interview to France Info, RTL and LCP television.
He described the Aleppo victory as a “tipping point” in the civil war. The conflict has already killed 310,000 and displaced half of the country. “But it’s a tipping point in the course of the war and it is on the way to victory,” Assad said in excerpts released by RTL. He also said that the highly-criticized air strikes and bombing raids were the price they paid for liberation. Scores of civilians died in these raids, “but at the end, the people are liberated from the terrorists.” Assad commented that the widespread destruction and death is “very painful for us Syrians.” But, he followed it by saying “every war is bad,” the Japan Times reported.
Syrian Civil War Peace Talks
He also expressed his optimism in the upcoming peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan. The talks, which Russia and Turkey, jointly organized, follows a fragile ceasefire. This ceasefire came into effect on December 30 and covers the entire country. However, the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly the al-Nusra Front, and Daesh terrorist groups, are not part of the truce, . Assad said that he is willing to negotiate with more than a hundred rebel groups, but this group excludes jihadist movements. When asked to comment about his own side’s wartime atrocities, he said “there were probably mistakes on the part of the government.” Assad added that they “condemn” and “regret” these.
The Astana peace talks can begin as early as late January. Also, the peace talked brokered by the UN are set to resume in February, Press TV noted. Meanwhile, a tanker bomb detonated in the rebel-held town of Azaz on Saturday. The attack killed 14 rebels, at the least. Most of the dead, however, were civilians. The Islamic State claimed the attack, which also killed five religious judges belonging to different rebel factions.
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