Syrian President Bashar responds to the Turkey-Russia initiative towards a quarter meeting that includes Syria, Turkey, Russia, and Iran by saying that he will not sit with Turkish president Ragab Tayeb Ordoghan before ending the Turkish occupation of the Syrian lands and apologizing for the hostile stances issued against Syria.


Editing | Tony Wild
Politics news section 
March 17, 2023



    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced that he will not meet his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, unless Turkey withdraws its forces from northern Syria, according to an interview published Thursday by Russian media.


The statements were published the day after Al-Assad met his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, seeking to repair relations between Erdogan and Al-Assad, which have been severed since the outbreak of the war in Syria in 2011.

Al-Assad told the Russian RIA Novosti news agency that "(any meeting) is linked to reaching a stage in which Turkey is clearly and without any ambiguity ready for a complete exit from Syrian territory."

The Syrian president added that Turkey should "stop supporting terrorism," referring to the opposition fighting groups that control areas of northern Syria, some of which receive training and support from Turkey.

"This is the only case in which there can be a meeting between me and Erdogan," al-Assad continued.

He added, asking, "Besides, what is the value of the meeting and why did we not hold it, if it will not achieve final results regarding the war in Syria?"

For his part, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday, "In order to hold such a meeting (between Assad and Erdogan), several preparatory meetings must first be held, and this process is underway."

Diplomats from Iran, Russia, Turkey, and Syria are scheduled to meet in Moscow this week as a prelude to a meeting of foreign ministers of these countries, according to Turkish media.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Bashar al-Assad established friendly relations in the first decade of the twenty-first century, after years of disagreements between their two countries.

However, the war in Syria, which left about 500,000 dead and millions displaced, strained relations again between Damascus and Ankara, which supported factions opposed to Assad.

Erdogan has repeatedly expressed his willingness to meet Assad.

At the end of December, the Turkish and Syrian defense ministers met in Moscow in the presence of their Russian counterparts for the first time since 2011.

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