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Assad confirms that Idlib battle is “the basis” for resolving war in Syria

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the battle for Idlib was the “basis” for resolving the country’s eight-year-old war, in comments he made Tuesday during his visit to the front lines against jihadist factions in the province.

“We were and still say that the battle of Idlib is the basis for resolving chaos and terrorism in all areas of Syria,” Assad said, according to statements published by the presidency on social media.

The Syrian presidential accounts posted pictures of the Syrian president surrounded by military personnel on maps.

Assad said that “all areas in Syria have the same importance, but what governs priorities is the military situation on the ground.”

After eight years of conflict, Syrian army forces regained control of about 60 percent of the country. Assad has repeatedly vowed to regain control of all areas beyond his control, especially Idlib, whether through a military solution or settlement agreements.

Idlib and its surroundings are home to about three million people, half of them displaced from other areas, including tens of thousands of opposition fighters evacuated from other provinces, after attacks by regime forces on their strongholds.

Damascus and its ally Moscow intensified the shelling of the province in April, starting in August a military operation that took control of several areas south of Idlib, the first of which was the town of Hbeit, which has been under the control of the factions since 2012. A ceasefire declared by the end of August Moscow.

HTS (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) controls much of Idlib and its environs, as well as less influential Islamist and opposition factions.

Assad’s remarks came as his forces continued to deploy in Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria to support the SDF in its response to an offensive launched by Ankara in the region since October 9.

Army units are deployed Tuesday in Hasaka province (northeast), according to the official Syrian news agency SANA, after entering recently to several cities, including the cities of Manbij and Kobani in Aleppo province in the north.

Syria has been plagued by a bloody conflict since its outbreak that has killed more than 370,000 people, caused massive destruction and displaced more than half of the population inside and outside the country.

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