Bashar al-Assad is willing to hold elections in Syria

  • The Independent |
  • Thursday 31 March 2016
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Russia's RIA news agency, in Damascus, Syria on March 30, 2016 Reuters

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Russia’s RIA news agency, in Damascus, Syria on March 30, 2016 Reuters

President Bashar al-Assad has said he is ready to hold early presidential elections if the Syrian people wanted it.

President Assad previously said “opposition forces” could form part of a new government, which would be agreed at peace talks in Geneva.

He told RIA he expected it to consist of “independent forces, opposition forces and forces loyal to the state”.

However, the opposition insists Mr Assad must step down.

The Syrian government does not recognise rebel groups, commonly referring to them as “terrorists”.

Over 250,000 people have died since the start of the Syrian civil war in March 2011, which has caused a refugee crisis and empowered Isis militants.

The Syrian opposition has agreed a temporary ceasefire with government forces as peace talks continue in Geneva.

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