Syrian president backs Trump's travel ban amid global uproar

In an interview with French media, Mr Assad talked confidently about ending the six-year civil war - but claimed the fight in Raqqa was not a special priority for his forces.

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said that U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial executive order indefinitely banning Syrians from entering the country targeted terrorists, and not the Syrian people.

"It's not a realistic idea at all", Assad said of the plan last week.

Assad revealed that retaking the Islamic State's Syrian bastion of Raqa - a key objective of the US-led coalition battling the jihadists- was not a priority for his forces.

The Syrian regime criticized the Western states with every single occasion for their support towards the rebel organizations, labeled by the Damascus Administration as terrorists.

"They said they interviewed few witnesses, who are opposition and defected".

Al-Muslit also said the HNC had yet to receive an agenda for the negotiations that are due to begin on 23 February after initial consultations beginning on 20 February.

He argued: "If we commit such atrocities it's going to play into the hands of the terrorists, they're going to win".

"We want direct negotiations, we want to save time, we want a quick end to the suffering of the Syrian people", he said.

Concerning worldwide negotiations to end the conflict that has claimed more than 300,000 lives, Assad said Western countries had "lost their chance of achieving anything in Geneva twice".

Turkey, which has been a major supporter of the rebellion against Assad, has jointly brokered with Russian Federation a ceasefire to pave the way for the talks.

Pointing to the challenge facing the United Nations -led talks, separate Syria talks that had been due to take place in Kazakhstan were postponed on Wednesday for one day.

In the interview, which aired on Thursday, Assad took particular issue with Hollande's ardor for a military intervention in Syria.

The interview came as Syrian government representatives and rebel groups began new peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana, brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran.

  • Salvatore Jensen