Syria's Assad threatens to retake Kurdish-controlled areas by force

Syria's Assad threatens to retake Kurdish-controlled areas by force
2 min read
31 May, 2018
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the only 'problem' in Syria now are the US-backed Kurdish force controlling a third of the country.
"The only problem left in Syria is the SDF" warned Assad [Getty]
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned US-backed Kurdish forces he would not hesitate to use force to retake the country from their control.

Speaking to Russia Today on Thursday, Assad said, "the only problem left in Syria is the SDF", referring to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces who control a third of the country.

"We're going to deal with it by two options."

"The first one: we started now opening doors for negotiations. Because the majority of them are Syrians, supposedly they like their country, they don't like to be puppets to any foreigners," Assad said.

"We have one option, to live with each other as Syrians. If not, we're going to resort to liberating those areas by force. It's our land, it's our right and it's our duty to liberate it, and the Americans should leave. Somehow they're going to leave."

Both the SDF and the Russian-backed Syrian regime are engaged in separate operations against Islamic State group jihadists in eastern Syria.

Assad also said that a confrontation between Russia and US forces over Syria was narrowly avoided.

"We were close to have direct conflict between the Russian forces and the American forces. Fortunately, it has been avoided, not by the wisdom of the American leadership, but by the wisdom of the Russian leadership."

Assad forces have slowly retaken most of the country from opposition forces. The Syrian regime set its sights on the south of the capital after reconquering a major rebel bastion east of Damascus last month.

Eastern Ghouta fell after a brutal air and ground assault and Russia-backed evacuation deals that saw tens of thousands of people bussed out to northern Syria.

The Syrian opposition surrender followed the gassing to death of dozens of civilians following a suspected regime chemical attack.

More than 500,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria's war started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.