Erdogan: Turkish forces will not leave Syria

With presidency secured, Erdogan eyes chess match with Assad
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad (L), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R). (File photo: Jordan News)
ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Monday that Turkish forces will not withdraw from Syria, saying, "We cannot leave Syria now because we are fighting terrorism there."اضافة اعلان

He added that Assad, "wants Turkey to leave Syria, and this is not possible."

Following Erdogan's re-election in May, the spokesperson for the Turkish Presidency, Ibrahim Kalin, indicated that "there are three important issues for Turkey in Syria, which are fighting terrorism, the return of refugees to their homeland, and the continuation of negotiations between the authority and the opposition." Khaberni News reported.

No meetings in sight
President Erdogan also addressed the possibility of a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, indicating that such a meeting depends on Assad's stance towards Turkey.

Deputy foreign ministers of Turkey, Russia, Iran, and Syria held several meetings with the aim of normalizing relations between Damascus and Ankara. However, the Syrian presidency refuses to hold an official meeting between the two presidents unless Ankara meets Damascus' demands, which include withdrawing from north-western Syrian territories and ceasing support to armed factions.

Reverse diaspora
During his victory speech delivered from the balcony of the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Erdogan affirmed that "the voluntary return project, through the construction of residential units in north-western Syria, will enable the return of one million Syrian refugees from Turkey within three years."

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