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Syrian president confident of rooting out terrorism

DAMASCUS, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday his country is capable of rooting out terrorism, as government troops reportedly regained almost all of the contested countryside area of the coastal city of Latakia, the heartland of his rule.

Assad made the remarks when meeting with a visiting Mauritanian delegation, during which the embattled leader stressed that Syria welcomes all of the constructive efforts to solve the crisis and is determined to work jointly to beat terrorism that has engulfed the country for over 29 months.

The president's confidence is built on the army's recontrolling of the countryside of Latakia, which is deemed as the heartland of the Assad administration, according to media reports.

State-run SANA news agency said the army on Sunday regained the villages of Hambushieh, Ballotta, Sheikh Nabhan, al-Kharatta, al- Khanzorieh, Barouda, and Shaban Mountain in the northern countryside of Latakia.

Sunday's victory came a day after the army recaptured the strategic villages of Beir al-Shakohi, Abu Makkeh in Latakia countryside.

Last week, the rebels unleashed an all-out attack against the countryside of Latakia, aiming to undermine the stature of Assad in the core area of his rule as the area is dominated by people from the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam to whom the ruling elite in Syria belongs.

The army immediately launched a counterattack backed by the air force to dislodge the rebels who poured into the northern countryside of Latakia from the adjacent Turkish borders and the nearby rebellious province of Idlib.

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