Addressing the local Syrian authorities on Sunday, President Bashar al-Assad dwelled on the US-backed Kurds fighting against the terrorists in the area:
"We say to those groups who are betting on the Americans, the Americans will not protect you", Bashar al-Assad told the heads of Syrian local municipal councils, as aired on Syrian television. He continued by saying that all Syrian regions will be liberated by the republic's military forces, "which are absolutely capable of defending the residents of the northeastern areas bordering Turkey", Assad said about the country's northeastern regions controlled by the Kurds, who are backed by the US-led coalition.
"Americans will sell you to Turkey. No one will defend you, but the Syrian army", Assad added.
He further noted that a number of countries are hindering the refugees from returning to their home country.
"The countries that take interest in the refugee issue, handicap their return to Syria… A considerable number of refugees have for the past few years been one of the sources of corruption, which benefit officials from countries that support terrorists, officials from organisations that were supposed to provide humanitarian aid, which ended up, as you know, in terrorists' hands. De-emphasising the refugee issue would deprive these countries of political leverage and material benefits", Assad pointed out.
"We won't let these forces hostile to Syria use the refugees' sufferings as a political map in their interests", Assad stressed adding that everybody, who had left Syria due to threats by terrorists, will be welcomed back and "will be able to make a contribution to the country's post-war reconstruction".
The president then recalled 2018, when tens of thousands of Syrian citizens successfully made it back to the country from neighbouring lands.
Meanwhile, US special representative to Syria James Jeffrey has addressed the Munich Security Conference, outlining Washington's plans on troop withdrawal and subsequent goals in the region. He underscored that the US is "not [calling for president Assad to go]", but rather insisted there should be "a major change in the behaviour of the [Syrian] regime to bring it in line with a dozen UN and other international agreements on how to treat your own citizens and how to behave in the region".
As the fight against Daesh in Syria is nearing its end, the question of the final showdown over Idlib in the country's northwest, occupied by terrorist forces loosely supported by Turkey, remains, as do Israeli attacks in the south.
Separately, back on 9 February, the SDF announced the start of an operation aimed at liberating Baghouz, the last remaining Daesh enclave located not far from the border with Iraq in Deir ez-Zor province, from Daesh terrorists.