Syria ‘Ready to Negotiate With Anyone,’ Assad Tells Newspaper

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said he is ready to hold peace talks with rebels to end the conflict.

“We are ready to negotiate with anyone, including militants who surrender their arms,” Assad told the London-based Sunday Times in an interview. “We are not going to deal with terrorists who are determined to carry weapons, to terrorise people, to kill civilians, to attack public places or private enterprise and to destroy the country.”

Syria has “opposition that are political entities and we have armed terrorists,” Assad said. “We can engage in dialogue with the opposition, but we cannot engage in dialogue with terrorists. We fight terrorism.”

Assad said any moves by the west to arm Syrian rebels would result in consequences.

“Syria lies at the fault line geographically, politically, socially and ideologically,” Assad told the Times. “So playing with this fault line will have serious repercussions all over the Middle East. Any intervention will not make these things better. It will only make them worse. Europe and the United States and others are going to pay the price sooner or later with the instability in this region. They do not foresee it.”

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