ALBAWABA - Syrian President Bashar Assad stipulated that Turkey withdraws its forces from northern Syria as a requisite for meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Russian media quoted the Syrian president Thursday saying that his meeting with his Turkish counterpart is linked to reaching a stage in which Turkey is "clearly ready for a complete exit from Syrian territory."
Assad said that Turkey should stop what he called "supporting terrorism."
Assad is ready to meet with Erdogan even today, but on one condition - with the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Syria. pic.twitter.com/Bp8SKkGQyx— Global Shovel (@GlobalShovel) March 16, 2023
"Aside from that, what is the value of the meeting, if it does not produce final results for the war in Syria?" Assad asked.
The Syrian leader implicitly referred to fighting groups opposing his regime that control regions in northern Syria. Some are said to receive support and training from neighboring Turkey.
President Assad: When Turkey is ready without any ambiguity to completely withdraw from Syria, stop supporting terrorism, and return the situation to what it was before the war, only then there can be a meeting between me and Erdogan. pic.twitter.com/eiPgL48y2Y— Kevork Almassian🇸🇾🇦🇲 (@KevorkAlmassian) March 16, 2023
Assad asserted that Turkey's withdrawal of its forces from northern Syria "is the only case in which there can be a meeting between me and Erdogan."
The Syrian President's statements were published the day after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
#UPDATE Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday was hosting Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad for talks as the Kremlin seeks to mend ties between Damascus and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan https://t.co/tqwzZeDUPF— AFP News Agency (@AFP) March 15, 2023
Russia is trying to bridge the gaps between Turkey and Syria, although Moscow's ties with Turkey deteriorated and severed since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria in 2011. While Turkey supported the factions opposing Assad's regime, Russia stood behind the Syrian strongman, providing him with military support, logistics, training and guidance.
“The Syrian leader made the comments during a visit to Moscow, and added that he wouldn’t meet Turkish President Erdogan”— Soner Cagaptay (@SonerCagaptay) March 16, 2023
Assad welcomes new Russian bases in Syria after Putin meeting https://t.co/ORAdsiQPjg via @AJEnglish
A Turkish official said recently that Erdogan does not mind meeting Assad. News reports that Erdogan proposed to Putin in December a tripartite meeting that will also bring the pair together with Assad.