Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad rejected the idea of creating safe zones for refugees and displaced people in Syria, an idea supported by US President Donald Trump. Assad’s remarks came during an interview with Yahoo News published on Friday.
"It's not a realistic idea at all. This is where you can have natural safe zones, which is our country. They don't need safe zones at all," Assad said. "It's much more viable, much more practical and less costly to have stability than to create safe zones."
According to Human Rights Watch, the death toll from the war in Syria as of February 2016 was 470,000. The ongoing conflict has caused the biggest refugee influx since World War II. More than 5 million Syrians had to flee their homes externally.
Trump has not provided details about the proposed safe zones, except to say he would have the Gulf states pay for them.
Fight against Daesh
Assad signalled he would welcome cooperation with Washington in the fight against Daesh. As long as the US took a "clear political position on Syria's sovereignty and unity”, added Assad.
Under former US president Barack Obama, the United States called for Assad's departure and supported rebels fighting to unseat him.
Much of the conflict is focused on a number of separate battles being waged against Daesh in which Russia, US and Turkey all back different local forces. The US and Turkey's fight against Daesh is not in coordination with the Syrian regime.
Assad also denied a report by Amnesty International, which blames the regime of executing up to 13,000 people secretly.