The Russia and Iran-backed Syrian forces will continue their brutal onslaught after pushing rebels out of city of Aleppo, according to dictator Bashar al-Assad.
There will be no pause, because this only happens in an area in which terrorists say that they are prepared to hand in their weapons or leave the area. Only then, military operations stop. Operations do not stop during negotiations, because we do not trust the terrorists, because they often say something and do the opposite.
The Assad regime has designated all rebels as terrorists since the civil war began more than five years ago in March 2011.
During the interview, Assad suggested that the Syrian regime and its allies may make a push to capture the city of Idlib next, which is the capital of a province of the same name.
Citing Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations envoy for Syria, Al Jazeera reports that “about 10,000 people, including fighters, were likely to be evacuated” from Aleppo to the rebel-stronghold of Idlib.
“Identifying which city comes next depends on which city contains the largest number of terrorists and which city provides other countries the opportunity to support them logistically,” he told the Russian outlets. “Currently, there are direct links between Aleppo and Idlib because of the presence of Jabhat al-Nusra inside and on the outskirts of Aleppo and in Idlib.”
Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda offshoot, is now known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), which translates to “Front for the Conquest of the Levant.”
The world has denounced the Iran and Russia-backed Assad offensive to seize Aleppo as exceptionally brutal given the reported massacre of civilians at the hands of the Syrian regime and its allies.
Since around mid-2012, Aleppo, the capital of a province of the same name, had been roughly divided between Assad regime control in the west and rebel control in the east.
“Aid workers and activists inside embattled east Aleppo have pleaded for the international community to save them from what they say are arbitrary executions of non-combatants by Syrian government forces as the regime finally closes in on the rebel enclave,” reported the Independent. “The White Helmets civil defence and rescue service, as well as three other trapped aid groups operating in the city, made a final appeal for the United Nations and others to arrange a humanitarian corridor for civilians to flee the fighting late on Monday night.”
Aleppo had been the epicenter for anti-Assad rebels, but both the Syrian dictator and the rebels have vowed to continue the war.
“Assad is winning now,” Monzer Akbik, a senior member of the opposition faction Tayar al-Ghad, told the Wall Street Journal. “But how is he going to rule the country again? The resistance should continue and will continue.”
The Syrian regime has designated all rebels as terrorists since the civil war began. Assad told the state-controlled Syrian outlets that the rebels only have two choices: hand in their weapons or leave Syria.
The Syrian leader accused the United States of supporting the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and making it possible for the terrorist group to retake the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra from the Russia-backed Syrian army.
Despite pushing ISIS out of the city a few months ago, the jihadist group has been able to once again recapture Palmyra. Assad has vowed to take it back.