Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday said that he would regain control over the country, and warned that the process could take a very long time. Assad's comment came during an interview to AFP, soon after reports of a partial ceasefire being declared in the country. The ceasefire was supposed to begin within a week. Government forces have been intensifying attacks against Islamic State-held regions in the country, and have been supported by Russian military forces.

Renewed air strikes around Syria's largest city Aleppo have sent tens of thousands of refugees towards the country's borders. Recent reports said as much as 11.5% of the country's population has been killed or injured since the civil war began five years ago.