Published: Fri, February 17, 2017
World | By Ernestine Jimenez

Syria's Assad lashes out at France's Hollande ahead of polls

Syria's Assad lashes out at France's Hollande ahead of polls

The main Syrian opposition body said on Wednesday it wanted face-to-face negotiations with the Damascus government about a political transition at the Geneva talks.

A USA official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the United States already had a small number of special operation troops in Syria.

Surprisingly, he also appeared to back USA president Donald Trump's efforts to ban Syrian nationals from entering the United States were, saying the measure was aimed at keeping terrorists out and not Syrian people in general.

Assad has repeatedly criticized Western leaders for supporting the Syrian opposition, which he describes as terrorists. "And that happened. It happened in Europe, mainly in Germany", Assad said in an interview with Europe 1 radio and French television TF1 recorded on Tuesday and broadcast on Thursday.

Also in the interview, Assad said the extremist-held city of Raqqa was not a priority target for his forces, stressing his goal was to retake "every inch" of Syrian territory.

"It's way, way speculative", the official said of the report. "So it's biased", the president said.

"That is the agenda and we will not change it, otherwise we open up a Pandora's box", said de Mistura. For sadism?.to get information? "Without it, it would have been far more hard for us to combat them", Assad said.

While Turkey, Russia and Iran take the lead in the talks in Astana, the West has become "passive", he said.

Disputes over the agenda have helped to torpedo previous rounds of Syria peace talks.

"Raqqa is a symbol", Assad said while asserting that attacks carried out in France by the Islamic State group [IS] were "not necessarily prepared" in the group's stronghold in Syria.

The talks - pushed by key Assad supporter Moscow - are viewed as a warm-up for UN-led negotiations that are due to begin in Geneva on February 23.

One of the sources also said that the sides hoped that talks on Thursday would produce a joint document.

Muslit, however, said the opposition had yet to receive an agenda for the upcoming negotiations.

Like this: