Assad says cease-fire meant to save 'terrorists'

AFP , Wednesday 14 Dec 2016

Syrian President Bashar Assad says western countries are seeking a cease-fire in the northern city of Aleppo in order to save "the terrorists."

Assad spoke to the Russia Today channel in excerpts of an interview aired Wednesday.

His comments come after government troops and allied militias have all but captured the entire rebel-held enclave. Thousands of civilians, alongside rebels, remain crammed in a small sliver of territory. A cease-fire brokered by Russia and Turkey to allow for their evacuation is unravelling as shelling and bombing resumed Wednesday.

Assad said the cease-fire was to stop his government's advance in the city and "keep the terrorists and save them." He also said the capture of the ancient city of Palmyra by Islamic State militants was to "distract" from the Aleppo offensive.

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