ANKARA (Sputnik) — Assad’s fate had been a stumbling block in the Syria peace talks for a long time, with the United States and its allies insisting he must step down, and Russia saying the people of Syria should to decide on Assad’s future.
"I think the status and the long-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people," Tillerson said at a press briefing in Ankara, referring to the future of the Syrian president.
In the beggining of 2017 the Amnesty International published a report, in which it accused the Syrian government of carrying out mass killings of up to 13,000 people in custody at Syria's Saydnaya military prison.
Assad repulsed the accusations, saying that the human rights group's report was false and questioning the credibility of the organization.
Syrian President Bashar Assad's response to 2015 accusations of prison detainee torture was that Damascus is ready for "unbiased and fair" way to verify the allegations. According to the Syrian leader, there is no verification of any alleged evidence that the Damascus authorities have been involved in the abuse of people in detention.
During the Astana peace talks the Syrian armed opposition insisted on President Bashar Assad stepping down as part of a political settlement for the country's six-year conflict, but the issue was not put on the talks' agenda.