x

WORLD

Syria Says No Dialogue with Turkey Before Ankara Announces Plans to Withdraw Its Troops

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria’s foreign minister said Tuesday that any dialogue between Syria and Turkey should follow Ankara’s announcement that it will withdraw its troops from all Syrian territories it controls.

Faisal Mekdad’s comments during a joint news conference with Iran’s acting foreign minister, Ali Bagheri Kani, came after Turkey threatened in recent days to act against Kurdish-led authorities in Syria’s northeast as they prepare to hold municipal elections next week.

Turkey has launched three major cross-border operations into Syria since 2016 and controls some territories in the north. Ankara was a main backer of Syrian opposition fighters who have been trying to remove Syrian President Bashar Assad from power since the conflict began in March 2011.

Attempts to reconcile between Syria and Turkey have failed to achieve progress since early 2023 despite meetings in Moscow between the countries’ foreign ministers and defense ministers.

“The main condition to any Syrian-Turkish dialogue is for Ankara to announce its readiness to withdraw from our lands that it occupies,” Mekdad said. “We do not negotiate with those who occupy our land.”

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, right, arrives with Iranian interim Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, center, for their press conference in Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, June 4, 2024. Mekdad said Tuesday that any dialogue between Syria and Turkey should be preceded by Ankara’s announcement that it will withdraw its troops from all Syrian territories that it controls. (AP Photo/Omar Sanadiki)

Bagheri Kani said Tehran has always supported territorial integrity of all regional countries, particularly Syria. “We have supported and will continue to support Syria in its battle against terrorism,” he said, in reference to Syrian insurgent groups that Damascus and Tehran consider terrorist organizations.

Iran and Russia, main backers of Assad who took part in Syria’s conflict that has killed half a million people, have tried to mediate between Turkey and Syria in the past. Over the years, Syrian government forces have taken control of most parts of Syria with their help.

On Turkey’s support to Syrian insurgent groups in the north, Mekdad said: “It is not permissible for the Turkish occupation of Syrian lands to continue to support terrorist organizations in northern Syria.”

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara won’t hesitate to act against Kurdish-led groups in northern Syria that it accuses of links to outlawed Kurdish militants, if they proceed with plans to hold local elections in the region on June 11.

Pro-government Syrian media outlets said Bagheri Kani met earlier Tuesday at the Iranian embassy in Damascus with leaders of Syria-based Palestinian factions. They gave no further details.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah announced that its leader Hassan Nasrallah met and discussed with Bagheri Kani the volatile situation in Gaza and along the Lebanon-Israel border. Bagheri Kani was in Lebanon before heading to Syria.

Bagheri Kani told reporters that he was in Syria to discuss “an immediate end to the Zionists’ crimes in (the southern city of) Rafah and delivering urgent, immediate and unconditional aid to the oppressed residents of Gaza.”


By ALBERT AJI Associated Press

RELATED

OBBÜRGEN, Switzerland  — Nearly 80 countries called Sunday for the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine to be the basis for any peace agreement to end Russia’s two-year war, though some key developing nations at a Swiss conference did not join in.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

1 of 2 Abducted Louisiana Children is Found Dead in Mississippi after Their Mother is Killed

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Louisiana woman was found dead in her home Thursday, and her two young daughters were abducted and found hours later in Mississippi — one dead and the other alive, police said.

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany  — Jude Bellingham scored to give England a winning start at the European Championship by beating Serbia 1-0 on Sunday.

BALTIMORE  — Gunnar Henderson hit his eighth leadoff homer of the season, and three more Orioles also went deep off Zack Wheeler to help Baltimore beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-3 on Sunday.

OBBÜRGEN, Switzerland  — Nearly 80 countries called Sunday for the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine to be the basis for any peace agreement to end Russia’s two-year war, though some key developing nations at a Swiss conference did not join in.

ATHENS - Four years after the COVID-19 pandemic shut international travel and kept tourists away from Greece, the government now wants  to limit how many cruise ships can dock at popular islands because there are too many tourists.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.