DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A Syrian official says the government will retake the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib, either by force or through peaceful means.
Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said in remarks published Tuesday in the daily Al-Watan that the government remains committed to regaining control over the entire country.
He says Idlib will go the way of three other regions that were previously considered de-escalation zones. In those regions, government forces backed by Russia and Iran laid siege to rebel-held areas before retaking them in bloody offensives.
Last week, Russia and Turkey reached a deal to avert an offensive against Idlib, which is controlled by a mix of radical groups and Turkey-backed Syrian forces.
Mekdad said: "Just as we won in every other part of Syria, we will be victorious in Idlib."