Originally appeared at A-specto, translated by Borislav exclusively for SouthFront
Syrian President Bashar Assad, stated that he was ready to negotiate “everything” that is placed on the negotiating table, in order to resolve the conflict which has lasted nearly six years. “We are ready to negotiate everything” he told French media on Monday. When asked if he was ready to retire from the presidency – a demand that the rebels have had since the start of conflict, Assad said: “Yes, but my position is bound by the constitution”. “If the opposition wants to discuss this issue, we will need to review the constitution” he said. The Syrian president stressed that he hoped for the quick resolution of the conflict, because even though a war can be fought for a good and noble cause, such as the defense of the homeland, it still leads to ruin and death.
Negotiations will be conducted with the mediation of Russia and Turkey and are to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan, before the end of January. There is no exact date yet. Last week, opposition groups said that the negotiating process is frozen due to the ongoing strikes by the government. In turn, Assad said that the truce has repeatedly been violated by the opposition, which forced the Syrian army to counter the attacks. He defended the actions of government forces in the valley of Wadi Barada near Damascus, which was occupied by the rebels, explaining that the aim was the return of control over these territories.
Earlier, Assad said that the return of control over the city of Aleppo is crucial for ending the conflict in Syria. According to him, the liberation of Aleppo is a victory not only for Syria, but for all those who effectively participated, including Iran and Russia, in the struggle against terrorists. “This is a defeat for all countries that are hostile to the Syrian people and who use terror as a means by which to realize their goals” he said about the recapture of the last rebel stronghold in the country.
Repeated attempts at negotiations brokered by the UN have so far failed to bring about a lasting solution for peace in the region. Moreover, the UN recently accused Syria and its ally Russia of bombing civilian targets in neighborhoods controlled by the rebels, although the majority of schools and damaged hospitals have been turned into opposition groups bases.