I’ll retake ‘every inch’ of Syria, vows Assad


In an interview with French media, Mr Assad talked confidently about ending the six-year civil war – but claimed the fight in Raqqa was not a special priority for his forces.

The city is the so-called Islamic State’s de-facto capital and has been a focus for coalition forces led by the US.

Mr Assad, however, insisted IS were “everywhere”.

“Everywhere is a priority depending on the development of the battle,” he said.

Child tells of arrest and torture in Syria by Assad regime

Video:Syria: 15-year-old girl on Assad regime prison

“They are in Palmyra now and in the eastern part of Syria. For us it is all the same. Raqqa, Palmyra, Idlib, it’s all the same.”

He also denied his regime engaged in torture after Amnesty International claimed that as many as 13,000 men have been executed in a jail called “the slaughterhouse” near Damascus.

The charity said inmates were allegedly hanged after a “sham trial” lasting no more than a couple of minutes.

Mr Assad insisted the allegations were not true and said Amnesty’s “childish report” contained “not a single fact (or) evidence”.

“They said they interviewed few witnesses, who are opposition and defected. So it’s biased,” he said.

Amnesty International have produced an animation of Sednaya Prison

Video:Syrian woman reveals prisoners’ suffering

“We don’t do this, it’s not our policy. Torture for what? For sadism? To get information? We have all the information.

“If we commit such atrocities it’s going to play into the hands of the terrorists, they’re going to win.

“It’s about winning the hearts of the Syrian people, if we commit such atrocities… we wouldn’t have (popular) support (through) six years of war.”

Meanwhile, international negotiations to end the conflict that has claimed more than 300,000 lives are continuing.

Representatives from the Syrian government and rebel groups were holding fresh talks in Kazakhstan on Thursday with Russia, Turkey and Iran to bolster a fragile six-week ceasefire.


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