Syria's top diplomat told the world Saturday that his country's "battle against terrorism is almost over" after more than seven years of civil war.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem also told the UN General Assembly that the Syrian government will free the country from all "illegitimate" foreign troops.
"To the disappointment to some here, we are today more than seven years into this dirty war against my country announcing to the world that the situation on the ground has become more secure and stable and that our battle against terrorism is almost over."
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He vehemently restated denials that Damascus has used chemical weapons during the war, although international investigators have found otherwise, and he called on all refugees to return home, saying that is a priority for Damascus.
"The return of each and every Syrian refugee is a priority for the Syrian state. Doors are wide open for all Syrians abroad to return voluntarily and safely. And what applies to Syrians inside Syria also applies to Syrians abroad."
He spoke at a time when Syrian government forces, backed by Russia and Iran, have retaken most of the territory rebels seized during the war that has killed over 400,000 people and driven millions from their homes.
A military offensive by President Bashar Assad's forces on Idlib, the last remaining rebel stronghold, was averted last week in a deal reached between Russia and Turkey to set up a demilitarised zone around the province.
Investigators from the UN and an international chemical weapons watchdog have attributed several chemical attacks during the war to government forces, while also blaming the Islamic State extremist group for at least one chemical assault.