Hours after a ceasefire started in Syria on Monday, the world waited to see how long the fragile peace would last.
The deal, brokered by the United States and Russia, calls for a halt to the violence between the Syrian regime and rebel forces.
It would also allow for much-needed humanitarian access to besieged cities such as Aleppo.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said while the start of the ceasefire looked good,
“it is far too early to draw any definitive conclusions.”
But just hours before the ceasefire started, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave a defiant message to the country’s opposition forces.
“We have come here to give the message that the Syrian nation is determined to retake every piece of land from the terrorists, and to re-establish safety and security, to reconstruct and rebuild infrastructure and rebuild everything that has been destroyed,”
he said in footage broadcast by the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency.
“I think this message needs to be directed … to those who bet against Syria in the first days, weeks and months of the crisis and until today,”
He said his message was especially targeted at those who have “supported the terrorists.”
Assad’s family has ruled Syria for 45 years. He has often referred to opposition members seeking his ouster as terrorists.