DAMASCUS, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The atmosphere in Syria is suitable for a real reconciliation process, Syria's Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar said following successive rebel defeats in battles that have led them to a "dead end."
Syria's Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar speaks during an interview with Xinhua on Monday March 17, 2014. The atmosphere in Syria is suitable for a real reconciliation process, Syria's Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar said following successive rebel defeats in battles that have led them to a "dead end." (Xinhua/Bassem tellawi)
"The atmosphere for launching a real reconciliation process has been attained over the past few months because of the dead end the armed militant groups have reached, after failing to achieve victories on ground and that's why a lot of them have resorted to surrendering themselves to resolve their situation and to reach an agreement with the state," Haidar told Xinhua in a recent interview.
The Syrian army has been making strides in its battle against the armed rebel groups across the country, mainly in areas around the capital Damascus and the central province of Homs, while the Syrian administration says it's ready for reconciliation.
On Sunday, Syrian troops seized control of a main rebel stronghold in the city of Yabroud in northern Damascus, a city which rebels dubbed the "shield of the revolution."
The army's capture of Yabroud is the latest in a series of other successful offensives against the rebels.
In his interview with Xinhua, Haidar noted that a major factor that contributes in making national reconciliation successful is the advancement of the Syrian troops on the ground.
The Syrian government has recently become more open to national reconciliation, after becoming discouraged by the slow-pace of international efforts to bring about a political solution to the three-year conflict plaguing the country.
Haidar said that there are challenges facing the implementation of national reconciliation in some areas, adding that the "biggest threat" is those areas with "foreign jihadist fighters" and " outside influence."
The minister stressed that the state is committed to the reconciliation process, adding that "There should be trust- building measures by both parties and we are working to make the reconciliation efforts successful."
More than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since opposition protesters first sought to oust President Assad and his government in March 2011. The country has been mired in bloody war between the Syrian army and armed rebel militias ever since.
U.S. names new special envoy for Syria
WASHINGTON, March 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Monday that Daniel Rubinstein, a senior Middle East expert, will replace Robert Ford as new U.S. Special Envoy for Syria.
"This position is as important as it is challenging. Like Robert, Daniel is a Senior Foreign Service officer who speaks fluent Arabic and is widely respected in the region," Kerry said in a statement. Full story
Syrian defense minister visits Yabroud city after military victory
DAMASCUS, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Syrian Defense Minister Fahed Jassem al-Fraij on Sunday visited Yabroud city, north of the capital Damascus, just hours after the military forces recaptured it from the armed rebels, the official SANA news agency reported.
"We are moving from one victory to another. The victory is so close to restore the security and stability to the homeland," al- Fraij was cited by SANA as saying. Full story