United Syria impossible with Assad in power, says Turkey

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People of Sere kaniye in Syria's Hasakah province bidding farewell to Kurdish YPG fighters killed in clashes with ISIS. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Ankara The Turkish government believes the a united Syria is impossible with President Bashar al-Assad in power, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesperson said on Friday.

“Our position on Assad is clear. We don’t believe that a united, peaceful Syria will be possible with Assad remaining in power,” Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said.

However, Turkey is willing to proceed with its cooperation with Russia on Syria, and wants to see the outcome of the planned peace talks in Astana, according to the spokesperson. 

“But we will see how Astana talks go, we want to go step by step at this point,” Kalin told reporters in Ankara on Friday.

Erdogan’s spokesman also said that clashes have largely stopped in Syria during the past few weeks under a ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a ceasefire in Syria in late December and said Russia would pull back some of its forces in Syria, where its military intervention has turned the tide in favour of President Bashar al-Assad.

According to the agreement, Russia was expected to serve as guarantor of regimes compliance, while Turkey would guarantee commitment by rebel groups.

However, local sources reported clashes between opposition groups and government forces along the provincial boundary between Idlib and Hama. Also, sporadic clashes took place in southern Syria hours after the truce was announced.

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