Tuesday, 22 August, 2017

Syrian president backs Trump's travel ban amid global uproar

HNC says seeks direct talks with Damascus in Geneva Nations Opposed to Syria's Al-Assad Meet on Friday
Howard Terry | 17 February, 2017, 00:25

Assad praised Turkey, Russia and Iran for leading the Syrian peace talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, and denounced the West for supporting "those groups that represented the terrorists against the government".

"It's against the terrorists that would infiltrate some of the immigrants to the West".

Bashar al-Assad said on in an interview with French media broadcast on Thursday that the travel ban, which included an indefinite ban on all Syrian refugees, was created to prevent "terrorists" from infiltrating the US.

In an exclusive interview with Yahoo News at a presidential office in Damascus, Assad said President Trumps freeze on admitting refugees from his country — part of an executive order that has drawn widespread protests and is being challenged in federal court — “is an American issue” on which he would not take sides.

"For us it is all the same, Raqqah, Palmyra, Idlib, it's all the same", Assad pointed out, stressing that it is the "duty of any government" to regain control of "every inch" of its territory.

Lurking above the Friday meeting and next week's G20 parley are questions concerning the U.S. (read Trump) relationship with Russian Federation and President Putin and how the new diplomatic alignment will influence the global community's ability to broker an end to the fighting in Syria.

"It's way, way speculative", the official said of the report.

"That is the agenda and we will not change it, otherwise we open up a Pandora's box", said de Mistura. "They did not want to achieve peace in Syria".

"Raqqa is a symbol", Assad said while asserting that attacks carried out in France by the Islamic State group [IS] were "not necessarily prepared" in the group's stronghold in Syria.

Despite the ceasefire, Muslit said Assad and his allies were "still carrying out crimes" and he accused them of preparing a major assault against the rebel-held Ghouta region to the east of Damascus. We have all the information.

A new round of the Astana talks was set to kick off on Thursday after a one-day delay for "technical reasons".

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