Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C) visits a military base in the town of Habit in the countryside of Idlib province, Syria, on Oct. 22, 2019. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with Syrian soldiers in the country's largest rebel bastion in Idlib province Tuesday, state TV reported. (Syrian Presidency/Handout via Xinhua)
DAMASCUS, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with Syrian soldiers in the country's largest rebel bastion in Idlib province Tuesday, state TV reported.
The president met with the Syrian soldiers on the front line in the town of Habit in Idlib countryside, said the report with no further details.
It's the president's first declared trip to Idlib, which is the last major rebel stronghold in the country.
The TV aired photos of the president's visit to Idlib, showing him talking with soldiers and officers.
"We said and we are still saying that the Idlib battle is the main one to eliminate chaos and terrorism in all Syrian areas," said the president.
He noted, however, that all Syrian areas share the same significance, noting that what identifies the priority is the military situation on the ground.
The president also slammed the current Turkish operation in northern Syria.
"When we are facing aggression or theft, we should stand together and coordinate but some Syrians didn't do that ... they didn't listen as they are still betting on the Americans," he said, referring to the U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, who are abandoned by the U.S. amid the ongoing Turkish military assault.
Meanwhile, Assad said that when Turkey began its assault in northern Syria, the Syrian government's main goal was to establish contact with all political and military forces on the ground in that region.
"We said we are ready to support any group that is resisting (Turkish offensive) and this is not a political decision but a constitutional and a national duty," he said.
Over the past couple of months, the Syrian army has made progress in the countryside of Idlib, with the Syrian government stressing that it will regain control over all Syrian areas.