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Israel, US preventing south Syria settlement: Prez Assad 

Damascus: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that talks led by Moscow on the future of the south of the country were ongoing, but warned that Israel and the United States were preventing a negotiated settlement.

In an interview with Iran’s Al-Alam television channel broadcast late yesterday, Assad said that after regime forces captured Ghouta from rebels in April, “it was suggested that we should move south”.

“We were faced with two options… reconciliation or liberation by force. At this point, the Russians suggested the possibility of giving reconciliation an opportunity,” he said.

“Up till now, there are no concrete results for a simple reason which is Israeli and American interference; for they put pressure on the terrorists in that area in order to prevent reaching any compromise or peaceful resolution,” he added.

Russia called late last month for urgent negotiations with the US and Jordan on the south, and President Vladimir Putin has discussed Syria with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It’s a prized region for nearly all stakeholders in Syria’s war due to its strategic geographical position: the south borders Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, but also lies close to Damascus.

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