Regime President Bashar al-Assad said that the current conflicts between his regime and Turkey are “senseless,” while speaking to Russian media about the “historic” interests that bring the two countries together.
In an interview with the Russia 24 channel on Wednesday, Assad asked about the reason for the division with Turkey, saying: “I ask the Turkish people now, what is the problem with Syria? What aggression, big or small, has Syria carried out against Turkey before or after the war?” He said there had been Turkish-Syrian families in the two countries for decades.
He added: “There are shared, vital interests and historic cultural interchange, and therefore it is senseless that there should be a real conflict between us and them.”
Assad’s tone regarding Turkey appeared to be less sharp, describing the Turkish people as “brothers”—the first time the regime president has spoken of this rapprochement since the collapse of relations with Turkey after the Assad regime’s repression of the peaceful protests in 2011.
It is not yet clear in what context the regime president’s comments came. The full interview is due to be released on Thursday at 11:00pm Damascus time, according to the channel.
Assad’s statements came as Turkish relations with the regime witnessed an unprecedented military escalation around Idleb, with Turkey a few days ago carrying out a military operation against Assad’s forces after a regime strike killed a number of Turkish soldiers in Idleb last month.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.