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Turkish troops to remain in Syria until security is assured

Turkish Defence Minister Yasar Guler states that Bashar Al-Assad’s government needs to meet a number of requirements before Turkish troops withdraw from northern Syria.

The requirements include the adoption of a new constitution, democratic elections and the formation of a government represented by all Syrian sects. Guler commented on the situation in an exclusive interview with Turkish newspaper Milliyet as follows:

“We don’t need anyone’s land… But how can we leave when there are four million Syrians in our country, and five million in Idlib are in danger of turning into refugees at any moment? Can we leave there without a secure environment?”

The Defence Minister stressed that Turkish military operations in northern Syria, such as Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield, were aimed at protecting Turkish citizens.

Our citizens could not go to their fields, because terrorists were firing missiles at our citizens daily and harassing them with light weapons.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian stated that his country had offered Al-Assad and Turkey a plan to withdraw Turkish troops from northern Syria. Abdollahian explained that Ankara would withdraw troops in exchange for the Assad government’s promise to prevent any attack on Turkish territory.

“We also proposed to Damascus and Ankara that Iran and Russia be the guarantors of this agreement.”

The Minister noted that Al-Assad’s government is ready to secure the border with Turkey from its territory.

Earlier, Al-Assad stated that withdrawal was a red line because of the current situation, stressing that his regime was unable to secure the borders.

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