Fighters from the Free Syrian Army ride armoured pick up trucks during battles against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists near the town of Qabasin, located northeast of the city of Al-Bab, some 30 kilometres from Aleppo, on January 8, 2017.
Nazeer al-Khatib / AFP
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with French media to be aired on Monday that his forces are on the road to victory after recapturing the key city of Aleppo last month.
“We do not consider that (retaking Aleppo from the rebels) as a victory because victory will be when we have eliminated all the terrorists,” Assad said, according to a French translation of his remarks provided by France’s RTL television.
“But it is a critical moment in this war because we are on the path to victory.”
Earlier Sunday in Damascus, Assad told visiting French lawmakers that he was “optimistic” about new peace talks planned for later this month in Kazakhstan.
Lawmaker Thierry Mariani said the Syrian president also declared himself willing to negotiate with nearly 100 rebel groups fighting against his government, excluding jihadist organisations.
The talks in Astana are being organised by regime allies Russia and Iran and rebel backer Turkey, following a fragile nationwide ceasefire currently in effect in Syria.