Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with AFP news agency in Damascus, Syria in this handout picture provided by SANA on April 13, 2017. SANA/Handout via REUTERS
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that de-escalation zones proposed by his ally Russia were a chance for rebels to "reconcile" with Damascus and drive out Islamist militants, but vowed to fight on calling U.N.-led peace talks fruitless.
Assad pledged, in an interview with Belarusian TV Channel ONT aired on Thursday, to defend the zones and to crush, with the support of Iran and Hezbollah, those who try to breach them.
Efforts over the past year to halt the six-year Syrian war have fallen flat, and a ceasefire agreed to by the government side and rebels in December was violated early on.
Read more ....
Iraqi forces move to surround Mosul’s Old City, held by IS.
Mosul battle will be finished within days - Iraqi army chief.
Islamic State collapses as military kills ISIS commander in West Mosul.
Iraq forces launch anti-IS push in western desert.
Army makes gains in rebel area of Damascus: monitor.
As fighting ebbs in west Syria, army looks east.
US-backed Syrian forces 'fully capture' Tabqa from ISIL.
UN in talks over control of Syria safe zones.
Turkey warns U.S. against arming 'terrorist' YPG rebels in Syria.
Trump to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at White House.
Pentagon chief, Turkish PM meet after decision to arm Kurds.
Suspected killer of Hamas commander arrested in Gaza Strip.
Security in Afghanistan likely to 'deteriorate': US intelligence chief.
Kashmir: Civilians killed as India, Pakistan trade fire.
South Korea’s new President moves to soothe tensions with China. Hope for improved China, South Korea relations after leaders speak.
North Korea tied to cyberattacks on banks in 30 countries.
North Korea to seek extraditions over alleged Kim Jong-un assassination plot.
State Department tells Americans to stay away from North Korea.
China presses South Korea on Thaad missile system.
Philippine assault on extremists sends 24,000 fleeing.
Pakistan criticizes Iran for threatening cross-border military action.
Jose Ramos-Horta says new East Timorese president will push for new maritime boundary with Australia.
Thai authorities hunt 10 over bomb that injured 60: Military.
Nigeria negotiating with Boko Haram for more Chibok releases.
Fifth UN peacekeeper found dead after C. Africa attack.
Somalia: Farmajo calls for arms' embargo end to defeat al-Shabab. Somalia asks world to help stabilise ravaged nation.
Egypt officials: Islamic extremists kill 10 Sinai tribesmen.
Uganda seeks $2 billion for South Sudan refugees at planned summit.
Ethnic violence, humanitarian crisis deepen in Congo: U.N..
Libya says its oil production tops 800,000 barrels per day.
Nigeria meningitis death toll tops 1,000.
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe 'not asleep just resting his eyes'.
‘You’re just meat’ - Ukrainian soldiers get chilling texts.
Russia: 'Cautious optimism' after Trump-Lavrov meeting. Kremlin says 'too early' to speak of thaw in Russia-US ties.
French President-elect Macron's party preps reveal of candidates for parliamentary vote. Macron's party struggles to process candidates for parliamentary elections.
Angela Merkel hits campaign trail before crucial bellwether poll.
Austrian court jails Syrian man for war crimes over civil war killings.
Report: Italy investigating MSF's Mediterranean rescues.
Eurovision 2017: Russia's absence from contest leaves sour note.
Russian blogger sentenced for playing 'Pokemon Go' in cathedral.
Spain parliament calls for Franco’s remains to be moved.
Trump launches commission to investigate voter fraud.
Trump says he was always going to fire FBI director. Trump calls Comey 'showboat,' acting FBI chief contradicts president.
James Comey urges FBI to maintain independence amid sacking fallout.
Flynn documents sought by Senate panel in Russia probe. Senate committee subpoenas Flynn for Russia documents.
Report paints harrowing picture of Central America migration.
Pro-Maduro militia suppress Venezuela democracy demos.
Brazil's ex-President Lula calls corruption trial a 'farce'.
Bahamas elects Hubert Minnis as new prime minister.
Colombia law gives former FARC rebels role in politics.
Mexico investigates video showing soldier 'killing' man.
TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR
Former CIA captive wants to speak at Guantanamo despite risk.
Pentagon hackers infiltrated Islamic State accounts, changed passwords: Report.
US offers $10 million reward for Syria rebel leader.
AQAP leader calls for ‘simple’ attacks in the West.
Global stocks fall, gold and yen rise amid political uncertainty.
Officials from Arctic nations meet amid drilling concerns.
OPEC wants 'collective efforts' to counter US oil output.
Boeing halts test flight of new plane.
European court aide rules Uber is a transport company.