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Syria’s Military Gains Will Speed Up Political Deal: Assad

30 March 2016 8:57


Syrian army successes will help accelerate a political settlement to the country’s civil war, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said, because they weaken the position of international opponents who hinder any agreement.

In an interview published late on Tuesday, Assad said his government “continue to be flexible” in its approach to talks aimed at ending the war.

“However at the same time, these victories will have an impact on the forces and nations which hinder a settlement because those states, first of all, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, France and Great Britain, are betting on our defeat on the battlefield in order to enforce their terms during the talks,” he said.

He was speaking in an interview with Russia’s RIA news agency published late on Tuesday, two days after Syrian army backed by intense Russian air power drove Daesh militants out of Palmyra, delivering one of the biggest setbacks to the extremist group since it declared a caliphate in Syria and Iraq in 2014, Reuters reported.

Indirect peace talks at the United Nations in Geneva adjourned on Thursday after making little progress. The talks were able to go ahead after a limited truce, sponsored by the United States and Russia, took effect last month – although it excludes Daesh and the Nusra Front groups.

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura says he wants the negotiations to address political transition, which he called the “mother of all issues”. Before the talks started, the Syrian government said the issue of the presidency was a red line.

Assad told RIA that the government delegation displayed flexibility at the talks with the opposition “in order not to miss a single chance” for settlement.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said last week that Moscow’s position that Assad’s future should not be discussed at the moment had finally found understanding in Washington.

“Russia’s military support, the support provided by Syria’s friends and the military achievements of the Syrian army – all this will lead to the speeding up of political settlement, and not vice versa,” Assad said.

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