Sun, Feb 26, 2017 | updated 04:44 AM IST

Bashar al-assad insists Syrian forces "to clean" Aleppo of rebels

Updated: Oct 15, 2016 08:41 IST

Damascus [Syria], Oct. 15 (ANI): Amid ongoing violence in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad has insisted that the country's armed forces must continue "to clean" up Aleppo city, even as diplomats are preparing to halt bloodshed in rebel-held areas of the city.

A renewed Syrian army offensive, supported by the Russian air power, against eastern Aleppo, has claimed the lives of more than hundred civilians in recent days, which has prompted the American- backed western forces to accuse Assad and his supporters of war crimes.

In an interview to a Russian newspaper, Assad said recently that the Syrian government has no option but to press on with its offensive.

"You have to clean. You have to keep cleaning this area and push the terrorists to Turkey ... to go back to where they come from, or to kill them," he said.

"There's no other option, but Aleppo is going to be a very important springboard to do this move," he added.

He further said, "It's going to be the springboard, as a big city, to move to other areas, to liberate other areas from the terrorists, this is the importance of Aleppo now".

His remarks comes close on the heels of a meet scheduled on Saturday between United States, Russia and regional powers such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar in Lausanne, Switzerland.

U.S. Secretary John Kerry will also confer with "key regional and international partners" in London on Sunday for further talks on ending the violence in Syria and the resumption of humanitarian aid deliveries, the State Department said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was quoted by CNN, as saying that he hopes Saturday's discussion might "launch a serious dialogue on the basis of the principles contained in the Russian-American deal," when the ceasefire agreement collapsed last month.

Russian state news agency Tass quoted Lavrov, as saying on Friday that he has "no special expectations" from Saturday's meeting.

"We would also like to work in a concrete way and to see first to what degree our partners are prepared to comply with UN Security Council resolutions," he told a news conference in Yerevan, Armenia.

However he said, Russia will propose "concrete moves" to implement past Security Council resolutions on Syria.

Earlier, Lavrov said that Western partners weren't engaging in "reciprocal steps" to settle the Syrian crisis.

Tass, on Friday, had reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law ratifying an agreement to keep the Russian air task force at Syria's Hmeymim airfield, in Latakia province, "indefinitely." (ANI)

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