DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — By winning over the city, the legitimate Syrian government will crush the plans of Western and regional players regarding Syria, the president said in an interview with Al-Watan newspaper.
"Aleppo will completely change the course of military operations on the entire territory of Syria, and will mean the collapse of the Western and regional players' plans," Assad said.
Aleppo became the "last hope" of radicals following their defeat in Damascus and Homs, the president noted.
Over the recent months, Aleppo, which was captured by militants in 2012, became a major battleground in Syria, engaging government forces, jihadists, and numerous opposition groups. Eastern Aleppo is currently encircled by government troops, and the fighting has affected thousands of civilians still trapped in the city.
On Monday, a military source told RIA Novosti that about 18 square kilometers (11 square miles) were under control of militants in eastern Aleppo, which accounted for about 40 percent of the city's territory.