Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem says the country’s government troops will “go all the way” in the militant-held northwestern province of Idlib, stressing that Damascus’s main targets are members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.
The top Syrian diplomat made the remarks in a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Thursday, following a meeting within the framework of Syrian-Russian intergovernmental commissions.
He added that the Arab country was in the “last step” to resolve the years-long crisis and liberate all its territories from the clutches of terrorists “and that’s why the United States, Britain and France want to attack Idlib with the aim of obstructing the political settlement process and helping al-Nusra group.”
Russia, a close ally of Syria, became involved in anti-terror operations in the militancy-infested country in September 2015 upon a formal request from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“As we were partners in the fight against terrorism, we want to be partners in the reconstruction process,” Muallem said. “Our people highly appreciate the role of the Russian Federation and President Vladimir Putin in combating terrorism in Syria.”
He further said that Syria would not use chemical weapons in any operation and that it did not have such weapons, adding that Damascus would try its best to “avoid possible civilian casualties and generally avoid bloodshed” in an upcoming full-scale offensive against terrorists in Idlib.