Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has assured rebel fighters in the country of “full amnesty” if they put down their weapons. Assad, during an interview with German public broadcaster ARD, also vowed to work towards upholding the U.S.-Russia-prescribed ceasefire.
“Just to give up your armament, whether you want to join the political process or (are) not interested about the political process … This is the only thing that we ask. We don’t ask for anything. As I said, we give them full amnesty,” Assad said in the televised interview.
While assuring that the Syrian regime will “play [its] part” in maintaining the ceasefire, Assad warned that there was a “limit.”
“We have refrained ourselves from retaliating in order to give chance for the agreement to survive. That’s what we can do, but at the end everything has a limit. It depends on the other side,” he told the German broadcaster.
The two-week ceasefire that came into effect in Syria Friday midnight is already seeing strains following reported breaches from Syrian regime forces. This is said to be the first such cessation of hostilities in Syria’s five-year civil war that had killed over 2.5 lakh people. The Russian Defence Minsitry said Tuesday it had registered 15 breaches of the Syrian ceasefire since Monday, and said it had not carried out any air strikes in the country.
Contesting reports of a mass starvation in besieged Syrian towns surrounded by the regime troops, Assad said that his forces were not cutting off supplies of food and medicines to his people.
“How could we prevent them from having food while we cannot prevent them from having armaments?” the Syrian president asked.
However, United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein Monday accused the Syrian regime of “deliberate starvation” and warned “thousands of people may have starved to death” in Syria.