On November 8, Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, expressed that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) will set off to capture Idlib governorate and eastern Syria after defeating ISIS, according to the Iranian news agency (MEHR).
“Soon we will see the eastern Syria cleared, and then the Idlib area in west,” Velayati said during his visit to the Syrian city of Aleppo.
During a meeting with Aleppo governor Hussein Diab, Velayati stressed Iran’s will to participate in Syria’s restoration process. Khamenei’s top advisor said that his visit to Aleppo is a message “to all that we are determined to help with the restoration of peace and security to Aleppo”.
“The terrorists’ proxy wars have caused great damage to Aleppo and other cities in Syria, but they also strengthened the people’s resolve and resistance against the armed terrorists and their allies … The presence of an Iranian delegation in Aleppo signifies the readiness of the Iranian nation to stand by Syrian people, whether during the time of war or during the restoration process,” Velayati said after his meeting with the Aleppo governor.
Back on November 3, Velayati said that the SAA will soon advance towards Raqqa city in eastern Syria to liberate it. A top adviser to President Bashar al-Assad, Bouthaina Shaaban also said on November 8 that the is SAA is willing to recapture Raqqa city.
The latest statements of Velayati and Shaaban mark a start of the new phase of the Syrian war, in which the Syrian government has to deal the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib governorate , and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in eastern Syria. While there is a notable chance that the governmetn and the SDF may find some common ground for negotiations, further military oprations against HTS are widely expected.