Bashar al-Assad vows to retake total control of Syria

President Bashar al-Assad poured cold water over the international community’s hard-fought efforts to win a ceasefire in Syria on Friday, saying he intended to carry on fighting until he had returned the entire country to his control.

In an interview, Mr Assad said the “political” and “military” tracks to end the war in Syria were separate, meaning he would keep up his attempts to win the war even if peace talks went ahead.

“We have fully believed in negotiations and political action,” he told the French news agency AFP. “However, if we negotiate, it does not mean we stop fighting terrorism.”