Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says Turkey and Saudi Arabia, widely considered as the major sponsors of Takfiri terrorist groups operating in the crisis-hit country, have been trying for two years to enter Syria militarily.
Assad made the remarks in a Monday televised speech amid reports suggesting that Turkish forces have entered Syria to help foreign-backed militants fighting against the Syrian government, and that Riyadh has dispatched warplanes to the southern Turkish air base of Incirlik in what is claimed to be a deployment to fight Daesh terrorists in Syria.
Referring to a ceasefire agreement reached during a meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in the German city of Munich on Friday, Assad said any truce means preventing terrorists from reinforcing their positions.
The ISSG statement says that the ceasefire in Syria does not include areas held by groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Nations Security Council, including Daesh and al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front.
“A ceasefire means in the first place halting the terrorists from strengthening their positions. Movement of weapons, equipment or terrorists, or fortification of positions, will not be allowed,” he said, adding that if a truce “happened, it doesn’t mean that each party will stop using weapons.”
He also said that local reconciliation agreements are the solution to the nearly five-year-long crisis in Syria, Assad noted.
The Syrian president also stressed that fighting terrorism is the government’s first and foremost priority at present and in the future.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. According to a new report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.