Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad said that the issue of the retreat of Turkish forces from Syria is not conditional but flows naturally from the political situation. Mekdad added that it makes sense that any talks are based on fundamental principles. Accordingly, Syria cannot reason with an occupier that has shown no desire to resolve the problems between the two sides.
During an interview with Russia Today, Mekdad said that there are currently no negotiations on the normalization of relations between Damascus and Ankara and that the countries’ respective foreign ministries have not been in contact with each other. At the same time, he stressed that the Astana Talks are the only viable framework for resolving the crisis in Syria. Similarly, the Turkish presidency’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin stated that there is currently no plan for a meeting between the two sides.
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Mekdad called on the Syrian “opposition” to return to Damascus. “Syria welcomes all citizens because the homeland is for everyone,” he said. “Let them join their people to enrich the local administrative councils, as all the positions of the grassroots administration in Syria are led by elected institutions.”
Mekdad stressed that Syrian refugees must return to Syria because they are Syrian citizens. “Erdogan’s announcement before the General Assembly of the United Nations — that he would establish settlements to replace indigenous populations in these areas with other inhabitants — is unacceptable under international humanitarian law and amounts to a war crime.”
Mekdad called on the “opposition” not to believe the dreams that Western countries have put before them because this support has fallen away.
“The development conditions in Syria before 2011 were wonderful — the country achieved economic progress of up to ten percent per year. The United Nations ranked Syria as the tenth-most successful country in achieving developmental milestones. And now, we have reached our current position due to these opposition groups.”
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.