Assad Says Ready for Ceasefire Provided Terrorists Don't Exploit It

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Syrian President Bashar Assad said he was ready for a ceasefire, on condition terrorists did not use a lull in fighting to their advantage and that countries backing militants halted support for them.

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"We have said that we are ready to stop military operations, but the issue relates to more important factors ... such as preventing terrorists from using it to improve their positions," Assad said in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais.

He said any truce must ensure that "other countries, especially Turkey, are prevented from sending more terrorists and weapons, or any kind of logistical support".

Turkey, other regional powers and Western countries have supported militants fighting against Assad.

Attempts to negotiate a truce in recent months have failed. The latest round of talks at the United Nations in Geneva is being jointly chaired by Russia and the United States, Reuters reported.

World powers agreed in Munich on Feb. 12 to a cessation of hostilities that would let humanitarian aid be delivered in Syria.

The ceasefire was scheduled to start a week later, but did not take effect. Syrian army offensives continue unabated across the country, backed by Russian airstrikes.

Assad said last week he would keep fighting terrorism while peace talks took place, vowing to retake the whole country from terrorists.

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