Syria will accept nothing short of final victory: Assad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says his country will accept nothing less than “final victory” over the foreign-backed militants and the terrorists in Syria.
In a telegram sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Assad said the Syrian army would not accept anything less than “attaining final victory” and “crushing the aggression” in its fight against militants in the city of Aleppo and elsewhere in the country.
Aleppo has been the scene of a “regime of calm” brokered by Russia and the United States since early on Thursday. It has been divided between government forces in the west and militants in the east since 2012, a year after the conflict broke out in Syria.
The 48-hour ceasefire took hold in the city on Thursday, with residents returning to the streets as fighting subsided.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, confirmed that there had been no bombings in the city, but said a civilian had died in a western district from shelling by militants minutes after the ceasefire took effect.
Earlier, in February, Damascus had agreed to a more general ceasefire with non-extremist militants. The February ceasefire had also been brokered by Russia and the United States.
In his telegram, Assad also thanked Putin for the Russian aerial campaign that has been going on in Syria since September 2015 upon Damascus’ request.
In another development on Thursday, twin bombings killed at least 10 civilians and wounded over 40 others in the eastern part of the Syrian Province of Homs.
Syrian state TV reported on Thursday that the bombings occurred in a square in Mukharram al-Fawqani in central Homs Province.
The developments come as the United Nations (UN) has been making efforts to hold peace talks between the warring sides in Syria.
Several rounds of such talks have been held. However, the latest round of the indirect negotiations, which began in Geneva on April 13, were brought to a halt after the main foreign-backed opposition group, known as the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), walked out of the discussions to protest what it called the Syrian government’s violation of the ceasefire.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The United Nations special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has also displaced over half of the Arab country’s pre-war population of about 23 million.
In a separate development, the Turkish military fired artillery rounds into Syrian territory, killing four people said to be Daesh militants.
The Turkish artillery attack was purported to hit Syrian territory reportedly held by Daesh on Thursday, hours after rockets fired from the area into the Turkish border town of Kilis wounded three people.