Assad vows to retake whole of Syria hours before start of ceasefire


A defiant President Bashar al-Assad on Monday vowed to retake the whole of Syria, hours before a ceasefire aimed at bringing an end to the bloodshed took effect.

In a rare public appearance at a mosque in the Damascus suburb of Daraya, a former rebel stronghold recently recaptured by government forces, Assad said he was determined to recover “every inch of Syria from the terrorists.”

“The rebels are reluctant to ‘de-marble’ because they know what comes next: JFS will be defeated, and the regime will then move in,” said Kyle Orton, an analyst at the Henry Jackson Society think tank. “Moreover, solely excising JFS, without doing anything else to alter the current balance of power, would cripple the rebellion.”

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