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Assad says victory in Aleppo would be huge step


12-08-2016 15:11 BJT

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says a victory for his army in Aleppo would be a "huge step" toward ending the country's five-year civil war. But he warned the defeat of rebel groups in the northern city would not end the conflict. The rebels called for a five-day truce to allow the evacuation of civilians after withdrawing from their last strongholds in Aleppo's Old City. But Assad ruled out any ceasefires as his army continues its offensive.

Syria's conflict erupted in March 2011, and turned into a brutal multi-front war drawing in world powers. Many Western countries cut ties with Damascus in 2011 and have imposed economic sanctions.  But Assad says he remains open to better relations with them.

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