Syria's Assad says priority is capturing IS capital Raqqa
The priority for Syria's military is to reach the Islamic State terror group's capital of Raqqa, President Bashar Assad has told a Chinese TV station.
US-backed Kurdish-led forces are also advancing towards the city.
In the interview with Hong-Kong based Phoenix TV which was broadcast on Saturday, Mr Assad said another IS stronghold, Deir el-Zour, can be targeted in parallel.
He said "in theory" he shares the same priority with US President Donald Trump of fighting terrorism, but that they have had no formal contact yet.
He added that Russia, a major ally, hopes it can bring the US and Turkey into co-operating with Moscow and Damascus in the fight against terrorism in Syria. The Assad government views all armed opposition as terrorist groups.
Mr Assad has said all foreign troops on Syrian soil without invitation or consultation with the Syrian government are considered "invaders".