BEIRUT - President Bashar al-Assad said he would recover areas of Syria held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and that US forces should learn the lesson of Iraq and leave the country.
In an interview with Russia Today, Assad also said the government had "started now opening doors for negotiations" with the SDF, a Kurdish dominated militia alliance that controls parts of northern and eastern Syria where US forces are stationed.
"This is the first option. If not, we're going to resort to... liberating those areas by force," he said, adding "the Americans should leave, somehow they're going to leave."
Responding to US President Donald Trump's description of him as "Animal Assad," the Syrian leader said: "What you say is what you are."