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Calling Erdoğan a ‘thief,’ Syria’s Assad tours Idlib frontline near rebels: report

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Syrian President Bashar al Assad on Tuesday denounced Turkey’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as a thief for attacking the northeast of his country and reiterated a pledge to retake all areas lost to Damascus in years of civil war, Reuters reported, citing state media.

Assad made the remarks during a rare visit to the frontline of Syria’s conflict, touring an area in war-torn northwestern Idlib province close to the last major bastion of Turkey-backed rebel forces.

Assad was seen surrounded by army commanders and soldiers in the town of Hobeit, which the army took in August as part of a Russian-led offensive to capture Idlib and its surroundings.

“Erdoğan is a thief and is now stealing our land,” state media quoted Assad as saying.

Turkey this month began an assault against its Syrian Kurdish militia enemies in Syria’s northeast with the help of rebel forces who control swathes of territory north of Idlib.

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