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Assad demands Erdogan hold negotiations on Turkey’s withdrawal from Syria

Assad demands Erdogan hold negotiations on Turkey’s withdrawal from Syria

Assad demands Erdogan hold negotiations on Turkey’s withdrawal from Syria

Assad demands Erdogan hold negotiations on Turkey’s withdrawal from Syria

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  • Bashar Al Assad will only meet the Turkish President if Ankara withdraws its forces from northern Syria.
  • Syrian President asked that Turkey halt its “support for terrorists” as well as its departure.
  • Erdogan and Assad had friendly relations in the 2000s.
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MOSCOW – According to a Russian media interview broadcast on Thursday, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has stated that he will only meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if Ankara withdraws its forces from northern Syria.

His remarks came a day after he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is attempting to mend ties between Erdogan and Assad that were ruptured during the Syrian war in 2011.

“(Any meeting) is tied to our reaching the point when Turkey is ready – fully and without any question – for a complete withdrawal from Syrian soil,” Assad told sources.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who arrived in Moscow on Tuesday, asked that Turkey halt its “support for terrorists” as well as its departure, referring to rebel groups who dominate northern Syria and oppose Damascus.

“This is the only way in which my meeting with Erdogan could take place,” Assad was cited as saying.

“What significance would any kind of meeting have – and why organize it – if it doesn’t lead to a conclusion of the war in Syria?” he added.

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After years of animosity between their countries following the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Erdogan and Assad had friendly relations in the 2000s.

But, Syria’s civil conflict, which has killed 500,000 people and displaced millions, has strained relations between Damascus and Ankara, which has long supported rebel groups opposing Assad.

According to Turkish media, diplomats from Iran, Russia, Turkey, and Syria will meet in Moscow this week to pave the way for a meeting of foreign ministers.

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