"US and Russian Federation were close to direct clash in Syria" - English

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Assad also sought in his interview to minimize the extent to which his government receives support from Iran. But large patches of territory remain beyond his control, including the expansive region north of the Euphrates River that is administered by the Syrian Kurds.

"If not, we're going to resort.to liberating those areas by force", Assad said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), whose territory has been significantly diminished in recent months with the help of Russian forces.

There has been a hike in Israeli strikes since the collapse late a year ago of the Daesh terror group, something that significantly demoralized the other Takfiri militant groups operating against Damascus. It's our land, it's our right, and it's our duty to liberate it, and the Americans should leave.

About the Israelis threats to Assad and his government, the president said the Israeli remarks and threats are a sign of their "panic" because the rebels they are backing in Syria are losing.

Assad has recovered swathes of Syrian territory with military backing from Russian Federation and Iran and is now militarily unassailable in the conflict that began in 2011.

Assad said there were Iranian officers working alongside the Syrian army, but that they were not combat troops.

Elaph, a Saudi-owned website, reported that Iran pledged in indirect talks with Israel in Amman to keep its troops and proxies out of upcoming fighting in southwestern Syria.

"Any interested party in Syria should understand that attacking United States forces or our coalition partners will be a bad policy", General McKenzie said.

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It also said that during this period "at least 892 civilians have been unintentionally killed by Coalition strikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve".

"We have one option, to live with each other as Syrians". "They said that they attacked Iranian bases and camps. and actually we had tens of Syrian martyrs and wounded soldiers, not a single Iranian".

Asked if there was anything Syria could do to stop Israeli air strikes, he said the only option was to improve air defences, "and we are doing that".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his government won't accept a permanent Iranian presence anywhere in Syria. Everything concerning the work on the border between Syria and Jordan was to be discussed, where Russian Federation has an agreement with Amman and Washington, TASS quoted Shoigu as saying.

Rebels hold stretches of that area and intensive Israeli airstrikes in Syria this month were prompted by what Israel said was Iranian rocket fire from the area into the Golan Heights. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, gave no further details.

He also commended Moscow's "wise" approach to the conflict, which, he said, had "averted direct confrontation between Russian Federation and the U.S".

He added that direct conflict between his ally Russian Federation and the United States in Syria had only been narrowly avoided.

His remarks came after Assad told Russian broadcaster RT he would not hesitate to use force to retake the third of the country held by the Syrian Democratic Forces. This is his language.

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