Last rebel stronghold in Syria's Idlib to recaptured: defense minister

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-27 01:46:38|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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DAMASCUS, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Syria's Defense Minister General Ali Abdullah Ayyoub said Sunday that the Syrian army will recapture Idlib, the last major rebel bastion in Syria, either through military action or reconciliation.

Ayyoub made the remarks during a press conference held following his meeting with the visiting Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami at the Syrian Defense Ministry on Sunday.

"Idlib and what is left of Syrian areas will be restored and purged from terrorism, either through military operations or reconciliations," Ayyoub said.

For his part, Hatami, who arrived in Damascus earlier on Sunday for a two-day visit, said Syria has a strong army, which was able to restore security to large swathes of the country, stressing his country's ongoing support to Syria in the battles against terrorism.

Idlib has emerged as the main destination and stronghold for the rebels fleeing other parts of Syrian through deals or surrender.

In recent months, the Syrian army captured several towns in the southern countryside of Idlib and hundreds of people started returning to those areas.

Additionally, Idlib is now living in a state of severe lawlessness amid assassinations, explosions and infighting.

All of these factors could pave the way for the Syrian army to restore Idlib, with military reinforcements reaching the frontline areas in that part of the country.

In his latest remarks, Bashar al-Jaafari, the permanent Syrian representative in the UN, said the Turkish side was supposed to send Turkish police with light weapons to the areas to observe the de-escalation of violence.

Instead, he continued, Ankara send army forces with heavy weapons to Idlib.

In addition to Turkey, Western powers have started waving threats of chemical weapons as they feel the Idlib battle could be near.

On Tuesday, the United States, France and Britain warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against using chemical weapons, warning that "we remain resolved to act if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons again."

Damascus slammed the warnings as threats, saying these powers are pushing their allies of the rebels to use chemical weapons to frame the government forces to justify a foreign strike on Syria.