Assad Vows to ‘Liberate’ Every Inch of Syria

BEIRUT (AP) -
Civil defence members work at a site hit by an airstrike in the rebel held area of Aleppo's al-Marjeh neighborhood, Syria June 6, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
Civil defense members work at a site hit by an airstrike in the rebel-held area of Aleppo’s Al-Marjeh neighborhood, Syria, Monday. (Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail)

Syrian President Bashar Assad has vowed to “liberate” every inch of the country in the same way his troops recaptured the historic town of Palmyra from the Islamic State terror group.

Assad says the situation on the ground is much better than it was months ago. He spoke on Tuesday to the newly-elected parliament.

The scales of war in Syria have tipped in Assad’s favor since Russia began an aerial campaign last September helping the government troops capture wide areas from the terrorists.

The biggest victory came in March, when Syrian forces evicted the Islamic State group from Palmyra.

Assad says his government “has no alternative but to be victorious.”

Earlier, U.S.-backed Syrian rebel forces were closing in on the town of Manbij, a stronghold of the Islamic State terror group in northern Syria.

Sherfan Darwish of the Syrian Democratic Forces says that as of Tuesday, his fighters now control two new villages.

The alliance last week launched a wide offensive, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, in a push to capture Manbij, which lies on a key supply route linking the Turkish border with the city of Al-Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the Syrian civil war, says SDF fighters are now just over a mile south of Manbij.

The Observatory said SDF has captured 52 villages and farms since the offensive started.