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Assad Vows To Retake All Of Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to retake the "whole country" from antigovernment rebels and militant groups, but admitted it could take a long time.

In an interview with AFP in Damascus on February 12, Assad said he would continue to fight terrorism while peace talks took place with the Syrian opposition groups.

"We have fully believed in negotiations...However, if we negotiate, it does not mean that we stop fighting terrorism. The two tracks are inevitable in Syria," Assad said.

The interview was published just hours after Western powers agreed in Munich overnight on February 11-12 a deal for a humanitarian truce in Syria.

In a wide-ranging interview, Assad also said there is a risk that Saudi Arabia or Turkey could launch a military intervention in Syria, but added that his armed forces "will certainly confront it."

Assad also said Europe is a "direct cause" of Syrians fleeing their homeland and must stop "giving cover to terrorists" before people return, a reference to Western powers' support of Syrian opposition groups.

Based on reporting by AFP