Russian Federation to hold Deraa talks as Syria regime prepares southern offensive

The United States, which supports the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, operates air bases and outposts in the Kurdish-administered region.

Iran has provided support to the government of president Bashar Al Assad from the beginning of the conflict, while Russia's military directly intervened in Syria in 2015, providing air power and other crucial support to the government's forces. In exchange, Russian Federation reportedly promised to ensure that the Syrian pro-government troops deployed near the Israeli-Syrian border would not include Iranian forces and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement.

"This is the first option. If not, we're going to resort... to liberating those areas by force", Assad added.

Idlib has become the main destination for all militant groups, which evacuated areas around Damascus and other key Syrian areas after reaching deals with the army when they got fully besieged.

He vowed to recover territory where American troops have deployed, either through negotiations with Washington's Syrian allies or by force. Areas in the southwest and the northwest are the only large parts of the country still in control of rebels seeking to overthrow him. "We are countering the Iranian military buildup in Syria that targets us and we are also acting against the [attempts to] transfer risky weapons from Syria to Lebanon", Netanyahu stated at the beginning of this week's government meeting. In the process, the Kurds have assumed de facto control over a vast area of mostly desert terrain amounting to almost a third of Syrian territory. People will not accept foreigners in this region anymore, ' he said.

The Douma attack triggered missile strikes on Syria by the United States, Britain and France which they said targeted Assad's chemical weapons programme. "I assure you the opposition forces have taken a number of measures ... including digging trenches and tunnels to prevent the regime from launching any attack", he said.

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Responding to U.S. President Donald Trump's description of him as "Animal Assad", the Syrian leader said: "What you say is what you are".

Syria was gripped by civil war in 2011 and various foreign-backed terrorist groups, including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL), poured to the Arab country to topple the Damascus government.

Israel in recent months ramped up its strikes on alleged Hezbollah and Iranian positions and weapons depots inside Syria, sparking fears of a regional war.

In addition, Fathollah-Nejad said Israel is anxious about "a permanent Iranian military presence across the Israeli border".

On Monday, Israeli media reported that Israel and Russian Federation reached an undisclosed agreement aiming to keep non-Syrian forces, including Iranian militias and Hezbollah, out of the southern Syria border region-a key Israeli demand.

"We have Iranian officers, who work with the Syrian army as a help but they don't have troops". Syria's air defences were much stronger than before, thanks to Russian Federation, he added.


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