New Sources Deny Meeting Between Erdogan, Assad Following Claims by Lebanese Media

Lebanese newspaper says Putin and Obama bear responsibility for Erdogan and Assad failing to meet

The Lebanese newspaper As-Safir published at the beginning of September a report based on unnamed sources about the preparation of a trilateral meeting bringing together the presidents of Syria, Turkey and Russia.

The newspaper, whose chief editor is Talal Suleiman and is known for its loyalty to Iran and the Assad regime and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, insisted on its claims of the meeting being held even after Turkish-Russian statements emerged denying the news. Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, claimed the reports were “fabricated news.”

In an issue published today the newspaper still lives in hope of the meeting being held, and the writer Mohamed Balout, who wrote the original piece, attempted to justify the newspaper’s claims and fabrications, saying: “The project is still on the table.”

He blamed the Russian and US presidents, saying they were the reason behind the meeting not being held between Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, because of their lack of agreement over the Syrian issue.

The writer, not yet satisfied, made new claims about a meeting which will be held between the Assad regime’s Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moallem, and the head of Turkish intelligence Hakan Fidan. He said: “Scheduling it has become subject to the meeting held in Moscow between General Ali Mamlouk, who arrived there yesterday at the head of a large Syrian security delegation and the head of Turkish intelligence Hakan Fidan.”

As-Safir ignored the Turkish position on the lies they published, and Balout said that so far no Turkish response had been issued about the news of Erdogan and Assad’s meeting, however the newspaper Al-Qabas quoted an official Turkish source on September 3 as denying the meeting.

The official source described the newspaper’s comments as “empty talk” and said that “Turkey attaches the greatest importance to the unity of Syrian territory and looks forward to finding a democratic regime there different from the current sectarian regime and sees the departure of Assad as necessary to begin a political process in Syria quickly and cooperate against terrorism.”

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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