Assad vows to take back Syria ahead of truce

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad Picture: AFP
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad
Picture: AFP

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad vowed to retake all of Syria from insurgents, hours before a truce brokered by Russia and the United States was due to take hold yesterday.

Speaking in Daraya, a former rebel stronghold recently surrendered to the government, Assad said: “The Syrian state is determined to recover every area from the terrorists,” state media reported.

“The armed forces are continuing their work, relentlessly and without hesitation, regardless of internal or external circumstances,” he said.

Assad made a rare appearance to celebrate the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday in Daraya, where state media showed him attending prayers at the Saad Bin Moaz mosque.

After years of government siege and fighting, its remaining residents and rebel fighters evacuated the town in late August under a deal with the regime, which has retaken control.

“After five years, some people still have not woken up from their fantasies,” Assad said, referring to the anti-government protests that erupted in Syria in 2011.

“Some were betting on promises from foreign powers, which will result in nothing,” he said.

Assad was joined at the prayers by members of his ruling Baath party, as well as several ministers and members of parliament.

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