Zee Media Bureau
London: A senior Syrian official has said the country`s conflict has reached a stalemate.
Underlining that neither side is strong enough to claim victory in the ongoing civil war, Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil has told the UK`s Guardian newspaper that Damascus would propose a ceasefire with the armed opposition at the long-delayed peace talks in Geneva.
In Syria, rebels have been fighting government forces in a civil war in which more than 100,000 people have died since 2011. Rebel forces control large areas of the country while better-armed forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad retain Damascus and key Army bases.
Citing the losses suffered by the Syrian economy in the civil war that began in early 2011, Jamil said: "Neither the armed opposition nor the regime is capable of defeating the other side".
"This zero balance of forces will not change for a while."
The Guardian quoted Jamil as saying the Syrian economy had lost about USD 100 billion (GBP 62 billion), equivalent to two years of normal production, during the war.
Asked during the Guardian interview what proposals the Syrian government would bring to a broader peace conference sought by world powers, Jamil said: "An end to external intervention, a ceasefire and the launching of a peaceful political process in a way that the Syrian people can enjoy self-determination without outside intervention and in a democratic way."
The use of chemical weapons on August 21 brought Washington close to ordering a strike against Assad, whom the West blames for the attack that the United Nations says killed 1,429 people. Millions have fled the country or been made homeless due to the ongoing conflict.
On Saturday, however, Russia and the United States agreed a deal to eliminate Syria`s chemical weapons arsenal, averting a strike. The plan must now go the UN Security Council and win Syria`s full compliance.
Jamil, a veteran communist with a doctorate from Moscow state university, holds the post of deputy prime minister for economic affairs and minister of international trade and consumer protection.