Syrian President Bashar al Assad said Thursday he would only see Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan when Ankara fully withdraws its troops from northern Syria.
Turkey occupies northwest Syria’s last rebel stronghold. Ankara’s dozens of outposts and hundreds of troops prevent the Russian-backed Syrian army from retaking northern Syria.
Assad told Sputnik that meeting with Putin was worthless until Turkey’s “illegal presence” stopped.
“This is linked to arriving at a stage Turkey would clearly be ready and without any ambiguity to exit completely from Syrian territory and end its support of terrorism and restore the situation that prevailed before the start of the war on Syria,” Assad told Sputnik in an interview relayed by Lebanon’s pro-Iran Hezbollah’s al Manar TV station.
“I met Erdogan just then. What good is a conference that doesn’t resolve the Syrian war?” He explained reconciliation.
The two countries’ defense ministers met late last year for the highest-level talks since 2011’s Arab Spring upheavals in Syria.