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ASSAD SAYS NEXT STAGE IN SYRIA WAR NOT EASY

DAMASCUS, Syria, Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, said that, the next stage of the Syria war, after the liberation of Aleppo city, won't be easy, given the West continuing support to terrorist groups.

"The Western powers, as well as, their tools and agents in the region, are carrying on with supporting terrorist organisations," Assad said.

He also said, recapturing the entire Aleppo city from rebel groups represents an "important station towards the victory in the war imposed in Syria."

Assad's remarks came, during his meeting with the visiting Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, Ali Shamkhani.

"Syria, with the help from its friends, mainly Iran and Russia, is moving forward in doing whatever it takes to provide the suitable ground to find a solution, through which the Syrians could determine the future of their country, without foreign intervention," he told Shamkhani.

For his part, Shamkhani made it clear that his country will spare no effort, to support Syria and frustrate any "terrorist scheme and its backers," since counter-terror is a "decisive issue not only for Syria but the entire regional countries."

Iran, the main regional ally of the Syrian government, has recently strengthened its diplomatic engagements with Syria, as Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the Iranian parliament's national security commission, visited Damascus last week, and Syrian foreign ministry officials, visited Tehran in the same period.

The diplomatic shuttling apparently aims at coordinating stances between the two countries, ahead of the Russian-Turkish planned Syria peace talks in Astana, later this month.

During his latest visit to Syria, Boroujerdi said, Iran supports the upcoming Syria talks in Astana, which were expected to bring, for the first time, representatives from both the Syrian government and the rebels together, as previous failed talks in Geneva were only between the government and the exiled political opposition.

Experts say, high expectations are held for the new talks, as the United States will not be part of the supervising team, as the Assad government is still deeming Western support to the rebels, as what is behind the ongoing conflict.

On Sunday, Assad also met with a visiting French delegation, including a number of French lawmakers and intellectuals.

During the meeting Assad said, France's current policy is disconnected from the reality about the war in Syria.

He stressed that, the policy has helped inflame the situation through support to "terrorist organisations," which, he said, have become a threat, not only to Syria but the Western countries alike.

The French delegation said, what they have learnt about Syria contains a great deal of distortions to the truth.

A day earlier, the French delegation arrived in Aleppo on an air plane, the first civilian plane to land at the Aleppo airport in four years.

The rebels in the countryside of Aleppo fired several rockets on the airport, after the delegation deplaned, causing a delay in their flight to Damascus.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK