Assad: We'll do our part for ceasefire

Syrian President pledges to do his part to guarantee the success of shaky ceasefire, says it brings hope to the war-torn country.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Bashar Al-Assad
Bashar Al-Assad

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on Tuesday pledged to do his part to guarantee the success of a shaky ceasefire that was largely holding into its fourth day.

World powers have thrown their weight behind the landmark truce as a way to bring an end to Syria's conflict, which began in 2011 with anti-government protests.

The United Nations said the next round of peace talks would resume in Geneva on March 9, announcing a two-day postponement "to allow adequate time to address logistical and practical matters".

Assad on Tuesday said the truce provided a "glimmer of hope" for Syria, where more than 270,000 people have been killed since the complex conflict erupted.

"We will do our part so that the whole thing works," he was quoted as having told German public broadcaster ARD, referring to the cessation of hostilities reached by the United States and Russia.

"We have refrained ourselves from retaliating in order to give (a) chance for the agreement to survive. That's what we can do, but at the end everything has a limit. It depends on the other side," added Assad.

He had previously declared that a ceasefire could not mean "that everyone stops using their weapons."

"This is the narrow sense," he said. "A ceasefire must mean stopping terrorists from strengthening their positions. Moving weapons, equipment, terrorists or strengthening positions must all be forbidden.”

Assad uses the word “terrorists” to refer to all the groups seeking his ouster.

In Tuesday's interview, the president offered a wide amnesty to opposition fighters if they agree to disarm.

"The most important thing for me, legally and constitutionally... (is) that you're not allowed, as a citizen, to hold machine guns and hurt people or properties," he said.

"This is the only thing that we ask. We don't ask for anything. As I said, we give them full amnesty."

The much-lauded ceasefire has brought relative calm to swathes of territory in Syria's north, south, and around the capital, where civilians have resumed their tradition of daily demonstrations.

The truce does not include areas where the Islamic State (ISIS) group and Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, Al-Nusra Front, are present.

In fact, Al-Nusra Front head Mohammad al-Jolani last week urged Assad's opponents to reject the ceasefire and instead intensify attacks on the regime.

On Tuesday, regime forces clashed with ISIS jihadists in the oil-rich eastern province of Deir Ezzor, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Limited clashes also took place in Aleppo city and others rocked the town of Harbnafsa in the central Hama province, said the monitor.

AFP contributed to this report.