Syria’s Assad: implementing ceasefire within a week ‘unlikely’

Published February 16th, 2016 - 10:06 GMT
A picture shows the rubble of a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) near Maaret al-Numan, in Syria's northern province of Idlib, on Feb. 15, 2016, after it was hit by suspected Russian air strikes. (AFP/Stringer)
A picture shows the rubble of a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) near Maaret al-Numan, in Syria's northern province of Idlib, on Feb. 15, 2016, after it was hit by suspected Russian air strikes. (AFP/Stringer)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cast further doubt on a temporary ceasefire agreed to last week by world powers, saying a ceasefire does not mean any side has to stop using weapons, and no group was capable of securing conditions within a week, Reuters reported.

"Regarding a ceasefire, a halt to operations, if it happened, it doesn't mean that each party will stop using weapons," Assad said on Syrian television.

"A ceasefire means in the first place halting the terrorists from strengthening their positions. Movement of weapons, equipment or terrorists, or fortification of positions, will not be allowed," he said.

Since the ceasefire was agreed to last week in Munich, Syrian army offensives and Russian airstrikes across the country have continued unabated.

Assad said that if the ceasefire agreement is reached, operations must halt in order to improve the security situation to reach a local reconciliation with rebel groups, a tactic widely seen as a way for the state to pacify areas under its own terms.

Assad again emphasized that his government had no plans for working toward a transition of power in Syria.

He said that any political transition must be done under the existing Syrian constitution, adding that any transitional governing body was a departure from the constitution.


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