Syria's al-Assad vows to "liberate every inch" of country

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad vowed Tuesday to "liberate every inch" of the country from groups opposed to his rule, while threatening that forces loyal to rival Turkey will be destroyed in northern Aleppo province.

"Like we liberated Palmyra we will liberate every inch" of Syria, al-Assad said in a speech before the newly elected rubber-stamp parliament. Palmyra in central Syria was taken back from Islamic State this year.

"Aleppo will be the grave where the dreams and hopes of that killer are buried," al-Assad said, referring to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, claiming the Turkish president was backing the opposition as part of a project to advance Islamism in the region.

Turkey is a staunch backer of Syrian opposition groups, especially in the north of the country, in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, and demands al-Assad's ouster.

"Our war against terrorism carries on until it is uprooted," al-Assad said.

Syria's parliament convened on Monday for the first time since elections that were held in April only in government-controlled areas and boycotted by opposition forces.

The ruling Arab nationalist Baath Party holds a majority in the assembly, as it has in every Syrian parliament elected since al-Assad's father, Hafez al-Assad, seized power in 1970.

Meanwhile, the United Nations clarified Tuesday that it had presented plans for much-needed aid to be airlifted into four Syrian towns - three in the Damascus suburbs and one in Homs governate - as part of a request sent to the Syrian government.

The request, submitted on Sunday, primarily called for land access to 11 besieged and hard-to-reach locations.

Airlifts "would come only into play if for whatever reason we could not get land access," said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Last update: Tue, 07/06/2016 - 23:59

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