MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The fact that some militants may leave the Syrian city of Aleppo with weapons is a disadvantage to the Syrian government, as they could use them in later attacks, but priority is minimizing the civilian casualties by letting the insurgents leave, Bashar Assad stated.
"Our priority is to protect the area from being destroyed because of the war, to protect the civilians who live there."
"When they don't, they can leave with their armaments, with the disadvantage [of being able to carry out future attacks] but this is not our priority, because if you fight them in any other area outside the city, you're going to have less destruction and less civilian casualties."
He added that some of those who gave up terrorism have joined the Syrian army to fight against terrorism.
"So, if you can bring them back to their normal life, to be natural citizens, that's your job as a government. It's not enough to say "we're going to fight terrorists." …. You cannot deal with it on the American way: just killing, just killing! This is not our goal; this is the last option you have. If you can change, this is a good option, and it succeeded."
Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with government forces fighting Syrian opposition groups striving to overthrow the president. Damascus is also fighting numerous extremist and terrorist groups such as the Jabhat Fatah al Sham and Daesh, both outlawed in Russia. According to the United Nations, at least 300,000 Syrians have died since the beginning of the conflict.
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