A Free Syrian Army fighter aims his weapon as he takes up a defensive position during what FSA said were clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Assad at Al-Arbaeen mountain in Idlib countryside - (Reuters)
The Syrian regime led by President Bashar al-Assad has said it is ready to agree to a ceasefire in the strife-torn country in order to bring the bloody civil war to an end.
Qadri Jamil, deputy prime minister of Syria, told the Guardian in an interview that the conflict has reached stalemate.
Jamil added that the regime would offer the ceasefire option during the proposed Geneva talks. The senior politician appears to reflect the regime's viewpoint on the issue.
When asked what options the regime would bring to the table in Geneva, Jamil said: "An end to external intervention, a cease-fire 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."
Jamil insisted that the ceasefire should be monitored by neutral or Syria's friendly countries.
He added: "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."
Rebels fighting against Assad remain opposed to the so-called Geneva Two unless the president steps down. The first round of talks took place in June 2012 which lasted for only a day as no representatives from Syria took part.
The US and Russia remain divided on who should represent the opposition during the talks.
Russia and the US have been trying to revive the talks for several months, but the attempts have made no headway because of mistrust and rigid stands of the Assad regime as well as the opposition groups.
The uprising-turned-civil war in Syria has so far claimed more than 100,000 lives since March 2011. Earlier efforts by the international community to bring about a ceasefire in the country failed as both sides disregarded the measures trading charges.
Meanwhile, in the US, Secretary of State John Kerry urged the UN to take strong action over Syria's chemical weapons.
"The Security Council must be prepared to act next week. It is vital for the international community to stand up and speak out in the strongest possible terms about the importance of enforceable action to rid the world of Syria's chemical weapons," Kerry told a news conference in Washington.
He called on the Council to pass a "binding resolution" against the Syrian regime.
Kerry argued, citing "crucial details" from UN report, that there is no doubt Assad was behind the Ghouta gas attack.
"Anybody who reads the facts and puts the dots together -- which is easy to do and they made it easy to do -- understands what those facts mean."
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