Assad regime illegitimate, far from promising future: Turkish presidential spokesperson
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Following a Cabinet meeting in the presidential complex in Ankara, İbrahim Kalın said, "Turkish intelligence departments may sometimes have contacts with various regime elements in al-Hasakah and Qamishli, including Damascus [government], in the framework of Turkey's security and the overall safety of Turkish operations in Syria."
But, he added: "This does not mean that Turkey recognizes the legitimacy of the [Syrian] regime."
Kalın said Turkey would not allow any terror threats from east of the Euphrates River in Syria and also stressed the importance of the roadmap for stability in Manbij, northern Syria.
Turkey has promised a counter-terrorist operation in Syria, east of the Euphrates, following two similar successful operations since 2016.
"Immediate implementation of the Manbij roadmap without any delay is significant for U.S.-Turkey ties, regional safety, and the process in Syria," Kalın said, adding that Turkey and Russia also agreed on the roadmap as agreed with the U.S.
Mentioning the Astana and Geneva process peace talks on Syria, Kalın vowed to continue efforts to provide safety and stability in Syria with respect for the country's territorial integrity.
Safe zone talks
Mentioning a Turkish Defense Ministry delegation visit to Moscow last month to talk about recent developments in Syria, Kalın said talks on a "safe zone, Idlib, and other issues will continue with Russia in the coming days."
Kalın said Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu would also pay a visit to the U.S. on Tuesday to attend a Turkey-Syria coordination meeting, adding that the safe zone issue would be brought up during the talks.
Kalın stressed that Turkey's main goal is to ensure steps to provide for Turkey's safety, and continued:
"Control [of the safety zone] should be maintained by Turkey, not another force.
"All the relevant departments of the Turkish Republic, the military and intelligence units, have proved to date that they have the capability to provide security for everyone in Afrin and Idlib [Syria]."
Kalın said Turkey should have control of the area east of the Euphrates River - where a Turkish counter-terror operation is planned - to be able to implement a similar model.
"No matter what name they have, SDF or PYD/YPG, Turkey will never allow [a model] to be a shield or camouflage for the terror groups," Kalın said.