Information Minister: Palmyra victory opens the doors wide towards Deir Ezzor and Raqqa

Damascus, SANA – Minister of Information Omran al-Zoubi affirmed that the victory at Palmyra, achieved by the Syrian Arab army, it’s friends and the popular defense groups, is of a great military and political significance and opens the doors wide to move towards the eastern and northern provinces of Deir Ezzor and Raqqa.

The link between the military operation in Palmyra and continuing it towards Deir Ezzor and Raqqa has nothing to do with the cessation of hostilities, Minister al-Zoubi told the Iranian al-Alam TV in an interview aired Tuesday night.

“No one could ask the Syrian army to stop its fight against ISIS terrorist organization,” he said.

Minister al-Zoubi went on elaborating that the Syrian army has not breached the cessation of hostilities agreement in any spot of the Syrian territories, stressing that there are armed terrorist groups that did not join the agreement and are still attacking army positions, and the attacks are being responded to in line of the agreement terms.

The Minister questioned the seriousness of the US-led international coalition against ISIS, saying the coalition’s fight has not yielded any results on the ground.

Rather than striking well defined sites of ISIS, al-Zoubi said, the coalition aircrafts have attacked national facilities allegedly “by mistake”, citing the gas facility in Deir Ezzor that is worth billions of dollars.

Weather the US is or not seriously engaged in fighting ISIS, it has to coordinate with the Syrian government, the Information Minister said, affirming however that Syria did not wait for anybody to seriously take part in combating terrorism, since the Syrian army, together with its allies, is fully capable of performing its duties in the battlefield.

Minister al-Zoubi clarified that the cessation of hostilities is not an aim in itself, “but rather a gate for other steps, mainly joining national reconciliations, dropping weapons and joining the state institutions.”

As far as the intra-Syrian dialogue in Geneva is concerned, Minister al-Zoubi said the dialogue was held under the UN Security Council Resolution 2254, noting that the paper which the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura handed the Syrian Republic delegation is being studied in depth and will be responded in due time during the coming stage.

The Information Minister affirmed that Syria will not negotiate those who held up weapons and are involved in terrorist threats.

Barry/ H. Said

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