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In a unusual turn of events, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has come out in defense of Donald Trump's so-called "Muslim ban".

The Syrian government should realize that the Geneva talks will not be "about procedures but about the future of Syria", de Mistura added.

During the interview, Assad vowed to retake "every inch" of Syrian territory from rebel groups but indicated that the Islamic State stronghold of Raqa is not a priority target for his forces. "They are in Palmyra now and in the eastern part of Syria. You have ISIL close to Damascus, you have them everywhere", he said.

Mr Assad, however, insisted IS were "everywhere". "So it's biased", the Syrian president said. "This can be done only by the citizens of Syria", Assad said.

"That is the agenda and we will not change it, otherwise we open up a Pandora's box", said de Mistura.

Weighing in on one of the most contentious issues in American politics — the danger posed to host countries by the 4.8 million people who have fled from Syrias civil war — Syrian President Bashar Assad told Yahoo News in an interview that some of the refugees are “definitely” terrorists.

"We now want to get into the essence of the political process - the discussion of the political transition - and what the Geneva 1 communique stipulated about the formation of a transitional body with full powers", Muslit said.

He argued: "If we commit such atrocities it's going to play into the hands of the terrorists, they're going to win".

Assad praised Turkey, Russia and Iran for leading the Syrian peace talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, and denounced the West for supporting "those groups that represented the terrorists against the government".

Syria's warring sides are also set to hold a separate round of talks in the Swiss city of Geneva on February 20 under the auspices of the United Nations. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimated in August past year that more than 400,000 people had been killed in the Syrian crisis until then.

The militants say they seek to obstruct any army attempts to capture a strategic border crossing with Jordan.


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