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Syria: Assad committed to UN chemical plan as ISIS HQ besieged by FSA - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on September 19, 2013, shows Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad gesturing during an interview with Fox News in the capital, Damascus. (AFP PHOTO/HO/SANA)

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on September 19, 2013, shows Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad gesturing during an interview with Fox News in the capital, Damascus. (AFP PHOTO/HO/SANA)

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—In an interview in Damascus with the US-based Fox News Network Wednesday evening, Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad said he was committed to the UN plan to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons. He added that the process of destroying the weapons would take a year and cost around USD 1 billion, due to the complexity of the process.

In other news from Syria, the Free Syrian Army has laid a siege to the headquarters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the town of Azaz, near Aleppo, following clashes between members of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated organization and fighters from the Storm of the North Brigade.

The Aleppo media center said the Storm of the North Brigade confirmed that three of its members were injured in the clashes with ISIS, as the latter attempted to kidnap a German doctor working at the National Hospital in the city.

Opposition activists said: “FSA groups have imposed a tight siege on the command headquarters of the ISIS in Azaz.” Activists said the FSA have “cut off the roads leading to Azaz to stop supplies reaching ISIS.”

In the meantime, the FSA’s media and political coordinator, Louay Miqdad, accused ISIS of “following a suspect agenda based on gaining control, rather than fighting the regime.”

Miqdad told Asharq Al-Awsat that “there is an organized and coordinated plan by this organization, and others who believe in the Takfirist ideology, to attack opposition fighters.”

Miqdad added that “these groups came to Syria on the pretext of fighting the government forces and help the Syrians topple the oppressive regime, but now we see that they have turned to oppression and terrorising the Syrian people.”

Miqdad also said he hoped that “the fighting with the extremist groups does not grow to a level where the Syrian people are faced with two sides to fight, these groups and the regime,” adding that “25 million Syrians were not frightened by Scud missiles, so they will not be frightened by people who do not belong to the moderate Syrian environment.”

In the meantime, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has said that fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection units have expelled ISIS fighters Allouk, a village near the Turkish border, following violent clashes.

The SOHR said Kurdish fighters took control of the village after clashes with the ISIS and Al-Nusra Front that lasted for four days.

The human rights group added that “it was the Islamists who attacked the village after crossing the border with Turkey,” and that clashes over the last two days resulted in four deaths among the Kurdish fighters, as well as 17 deaths among the ISIS, Al-Nusra and other groups

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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