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Turkey Does Not Seek Assad Removed in Syria – Erdogan

Turkey Does Not Seek Assad Removed in Syria – Erdogan
folder_openEurope... access_timeone month ago
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By Staff, Agencies

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey does not seek the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We don’t have such an issue whether to defeat Assad or not,” he told journalists accompanying him on a trip to Ukraine.

“All the steps we have taken with Russians in northern Syria and the east and west of the Euphrates, there is a fight against terrorism.”

After a week of speculation that normalization with the Syrian president’s government may be on the cards, Erdogan said Turkey will need to take “higher steps” with Damascus to end the “games” being played in the region.

He added that Turkey cannot totally end its diplomatic relations with the Syrian government.

“You have to accept that you cannot cut the political dialogue and diplomacy between the states,” he said. “There should always be such dialogues. “

The Turkish president said he also wanted to work with Tehran in Syria.

For weeks, Erdogan has suggested a Turkish military operation is close, with the aim of expelling Syrian Kurdish militants from areas around Syria’s Tal Rifaat and Manbij. On Friday, he once again stressed that Ankara was ready to launch the offensive.

However, he added that he discussed the issue with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and told him that the Syrian Kurdish armed factions have been resourced by the Assad government through oil sales done between Kurdish-controlled Qamishli and Damascus.