Oct 22, 2019 16:44 UTC
  • President Assad: Idlib battle basis for ridding Syria of terrorism

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has described the defeating of the Takfiri terrorists holed up in Idlib as the key to ending the eight-year war gripping the country as he visited troops deployed to the frontline against the terrorists in the northwestern province.

Assad made the remarks in a meeting with Syrian army personnel on the frontlines of al-Habit town, on Idlib’s southern edges, on Tuesday.

“We have always said and we still say that Idlib battle is basic for ending chaos and terrorism in all the Syrian areas,” he said during his first visit to the embattled region since 2011.

Idlib remains the only large area in the hands of anti-Damascus militants after the Syrian military — backed by Iran and Russia — managed to undo militant gains across the country and bring back almost all of Syrian soil under government control.

Lashing out at Ankara, Assad described Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “robber,” who has robbed Syrian “factories, wheat and oil,” saying he is now “robbing the land.”

“When we face an aggression or robbery, we should stand by each other ..., but some Syrians haven’t done that, particularly over the first years of the war… We told them not to bet on the abroad, but on the army, the people and the homeland,” he said, referring to the Kurds who had put their trust in the US and relied on its support.

The Syrian president further said that Syria's first measure in the face of the Turkish offensive was “to communicate with different political and military forces on the ground, and we said that we are ready to support any group that would resist, and it isn’t a political decision, but a constitutional and national duty, and if we don’t do that, we don’t deserve the homeland.”

In the wake of Turkey’s Syria offensive earlier this month, Assad said the Damascus government would respond through all legitimate means available in the country's northern areas.