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Assad vows to defeat last remaining Syria rebels

Regime troops have taken the remainder of Aleppo province (Getty)

Date of publication: 18 February, 2020

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Head of the Syrian regime Bashar Assad declared victory on Monday after his troops consolidated control over the province of Aleppo in northern Syria.
Head of the Syrian regime Bashar Assad declared victory on Monday after his troops consolidated control over the province of Aleppo in northern Syria, pledging to press ahead with a military campaign to achieve complete victory.

In a televised address, Assad, who rarely appears in public, congratulated the Syrian people for the victory of their willpower and said that Aleppo, along with the rest of Syria, would be rebuilt.

Despite declaring victory in Aleppo, Assad said there was still more fighting to come.

Read More: Syria Weekly: Banking on Lebanon not paying off for Damascus

"We should not rest, but continue to prepare for coming battles, and therefore the battle of liberating the Aleppo countryside and Idlib will continue," he said.

His address came amid an ongoing military advance in northwestern Syria that has sparked a humanitarian catastrophe, and a day after troops consolidated the government's hold over the key Aleppo province, capturing over 30 villages and hamlets in the western countryside in a single day.

The advance secured the provincial capital that had for years remained within range of opposition fire.

The new gains, along with securing a key highway that ran through rebel territory, are set to facilitate movement between northern and southern Syria, including the city of Aleppo, Syria's commercial centre before the war.

Since December, Syrian troops have been on the offensive in the area and the nearby Idlib province, biting bit by bit at the crowded rebel enclave, home to over 3 million people.

The offensive displaced more than 800,000 people, sparking one of the largest humanitarian crisis in the nine-year war.

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