Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has ruled out the possibility of negotiations with al-Qaeda-linked militant groups, who are the main forces fighting to topple the government in the Arab country.
“Regarding the militants, if they give up their arms we’ll be ready to discuss with them anything, like with any other citizen,” he said in an interview with Italy’s state-run Rai News 24 television network on Sunday.
“We cannot discuss with al-Qaeda offshoots and organizations that are affiliated with al-Qaeda,” Assad said, adding, “We cannot negotiate with the people who ask for foreign intervention and military intervention in Syria.”
He also vowed to abide by the UN resolution calling for the elimination of country’s chemical weapons.
“Of course we have to comply. This is our history to comply with every treaty we sign,” Assad said.
The UN Security Council voted unanimously on September 27 to pass a resolution requiring Syria to eliminate its chemical weapons stockpile.
Under the document, the council “decides, in the event of noncompliance with this resolution, including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab Republic, to impose measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.”
As the Syrian army is struggling with internal and external threats of wider conflicts, people have been forced to live under strict rules imposed by some of the al-Qaeda-linked militant groups who benefit international silence on their crimes.
A US plan to bomb the country over a chemical attack near Syrian capital on August 21 was canceled with Russia’s mediation that sought to ease the tensions by putting Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons under international control.
The offer was widely welcomed both in Syria and other countries that were concerned by US military ambitions and its regional consequences.