October 22, 2016

Syria crisis: Assad says elections “starts after starting to defeat terrorism”

President Bashar al-Assad

President Assad told in an interview with Italian state television the timetable for elections “starts after starting to defeat terrorism”.

It is unclear whether he was referring only to Islamic State (IS) militants or also to Western-backed rebels.

Last week, 19 countries – including Mr Assad’s allies – set a deadline of 1 January for the start of peace talks.

They signed a UN statement that calls for a ceasefire to be agreed by 14 May 2016 and for free elections to be held a year later.

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