An emboldened Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visits a Damascus suburb that was recaptured from rebels, hours before the start of a brokered ceasefire that has the opposition feeling wary. Mana Rabiee reports.
Syria’s Assad emboldened ahead of ceasefire
Syrian President Bashar al Assad was in the Damascus suburb of Darayya for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, just hours before a brokered ceasefire was set to begin..
It was a visit loaded with symbolism.
Until last month, Darayya was rebel-held territory, but after a crushing siege, the rebels were forced to surrender to Assad’s forces.
Now, an emboldened Assad is vowing to take back all remaining rebel-held territory.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN PRESIDENT, BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SAYING:
“When we come to this area we give a message that the Syrian state is determined to recover every area from terrorists, re-establishing safety and security, rebuilding the infrastructure, rebuilding everything whether the cost was humanitarian or material.”
The ceasefire will be tricky.
Under its terms, if the peace holds for nine days, the Syrian air force will stop bombing, while U.S. and Russian forces focus their efforts on hardline groups like Islamic State who are excluded from the truce.
Both the Syrian government and several rebel groups have reportedly approved the deal. But with so many other players involved, there are no guarantees that ANY deal can succeed.