Europe

Syria's Assad thanks UN chief for comments on taking Palmyra

  • This photo released on Sunday March 27, 2016, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian government soldiers patrol a street in the ancient city of Palmyra, central Syria. The amount of destruction found inside the archaeological area in the historic town  was similar to what experts have expected but the shock came Monday from inside the local museum where the extremists have caused wide damage demolishing invaluable statues that were torn to pieces. (SANA via AP)

    This photo released on Sunday March 27, 2016, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian government soldiers patrol a street in the ancient city of Palmyra, central Syria. The amount of destruction found inside the archaeological area in the historic town was similar to what experts have expected but the shock came Monday from inside the local museum where the extremists have caused wide damage demolishing invaluable statues that were torn to pieces. (SANA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This photo released on Sunday March 27, 2016, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a burned banner of the Islamic State group, in the ancient city of Palmyra, central Syria. The amount of destruction found inside the archaeological area in the historic town  was similar to what experts have expected but the shock came Monday from inside the local museum where the extremists have caused wide damage demolishing invaluable statues that were torn to pieces. (SANA via AP)

    This photo released on Sunday March 27, 2016, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a burned banner of the Islamic State group, in the ancient city of Palmyra, central Syria. The amount of destruction found inside the archaeological area in the historic town was similar to what experts have expected but the shock came Monday from inside the local museum where the extremists have caused wide damage demolishing invaluable statues that were torn to pieces. (SANA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2015, file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad gives an interview with the BBC in Damascus, Syria. On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Assad said in an interview with Sputnik, a Russian state news agency, that Syria needs a national unity government that would secure the transition to a new constitution, rejecting the "transitional body" demanded by the opposition, which wants him to step down. Assad said Syrian refugees will begin returning home when they see hope for improvement, adding that one of the main causes of migration is Western sanctions against Syria. (SANA via AP, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2015, file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad gives an interview with the BBC in Damascus, Syria. On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Assad said in an interview with Sputnik, a Russian state news agency, that Syria needs a national unity government that would secure the transition to a new constitution, rejecting the "transitional body" demanded by the opposition, which wants him to step down. Assad said Syrian refugees will begin returning home when they see hope for improvement, adding that one of the main causes of migration is Western sanctions against Syria. (SANA via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

Syria's state-run news agency says President Bashar Assad has sent a message to the U.N. secretary-general reiterating his readiness to cooperate with all "sincere" efforts to fight terrorism.

Assad also thanked Ban Ki-moon for the U.N. chief's statements welcoming the Syrian army's recapture of the town of Palmyra and its world-famous archaeological site from Islamic State militants. SANA says the message was sent on Wednesday.

Ban had said on Sunday that the world body is "encouraged and fortunate" that Syrian troops retook Palmyra.

SANA says Assad also urged the U.N. chief to support the Syrian government efforts in rebuilding Palmyra.

Assad is also quoted as saying his country is ready to cooperate with all "sincere and serious" efforts to fight terrorism.