Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the army’s operations against terrorist groups in the northwestern province of Idlib are aimed at eliminating terrorism as a threat to security and safety of the Arab country’s nation.
According to Syria’s official news agency SANA, Assad made the remarks in a meeting with senior aide of the Iranian foreign minister for political affairs Ali Asghar Khaji and his accompanying delegation in Damascus on Tuesday.
The Syrian president added that the ongoing counter-terrorism offensive in Idlib Province, the last major stronghold of militants in Syria, is a top priority.
Syrian forces have gained ground after a week-long assault against the last terrorist enclave in Syria’s northwest, the biggest such push in more than three months.
The Takfiris were using the villages as a launching pad for their mortar attacks on areas in southern Idlib, which have returned to government control.
The Syrian army recently said it had regained control over more than 20 villages and hilltops and was coming close to one of the 12 Turkish observation posts in the northwest.
The Iranian official, for his part, said Iran has always supported and will continue to support any move aimed at serving the interests of the Syrian people and preserving the Arab country’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
During the meeting, the Iranian diplomat and Syrian president also exchanged views about bilateral relations the latest developments in Syria.
Iran, Syria united in fight against terrorism: Syrian Deputy FM
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad also said on Tuesday that Tehran and Damascus are united in the fight against terrorism and urged the world to support the two sides.
In a meeting with Khaji and his delegation, Mekdad slammed the illegal presence of US and Western boots on Syrian soil and said the Arab nation views the foreign forces as aggressors and occupiers.
In reaction to the United States’ latest military aggression against Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, he said the PMU is one of the Iraqi government’s forces in the battle against terrorism and must be supported.
For his part, the senior Iranian diplomat said, “We have become accustomed to bloody US messages, the last of which was the aggression against the Iraqi and Syrian territories.”
Khaji arrived in Damascus on a day-long visit on Tuesday to hold talks with Syrian officials about ways to improve bilateral cooperation.