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Syria’s Assad says will not back down from fight

MINSK Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in an interview with Belarusian TV Channel ONT aired on Thursday, said he will not back down from fighting his enemies.

He pledged to defend de-escalation zones, brokered by Russia, and crush, with the support of Iran and Hezbollah, those who will try to breach them.

Assad also told the TV channel that the de-escalation zones give chance for insurgents to hand over weapons, and for “reconciliation” with government.

(Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Additional reporting by John Davison in Beirut; Editing by Alison Williams)