Ankara announced its intention to transfer control of the areas of presence of the Turkish forces in Syria to Damascus if political stability is achieved, and indicated the possibility of joint work in the future with Damascus to combat terrorism.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, in a speech during the year-end assessment meeting, that Türkiye “repeatedly affirms its intention to transfer control in the areas it currently resides in to Syria if political stability is achieved and things return to normal in the country”.

Cavusoglu pointed to “the possibility of joint action in the future, in the event that common ground is formed between the two countries with regard to combating terrorism”.

Cavusoglu stressed that Türkiye respects the unity and sovereignty of the Syrian territories.

Regarding Damascus’ demands for withdraw of Turkish forces from Syria, Cavusoglu said that the purpose of his country’s presence there “is to combat terrorism, especially since the regime cannot secure stability”.

Turkish Foreign Minister referred to the Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” in northern Syria, which form the backbone of the “Syria Democratic Forces”, which Türkiye classifies them as terrorists, as a threat on his country, adding they’re a threat to Syria as well, and it’s greater, due to their separatist agenda”.

Turkish Foreign Minister stressed that his country continues firmly to combat terrorism, and pointed out that the differences between Ankara and Damascus prevented the establishment of cooperation between them in this issue.

Turkish Foreign Minister said that Damascus wants the Syrians to return to their country.

It’s important that this be done positively while ensuring their safety.

Cavusoglu considered it also important to involve the international system and the United Nations in the issue of the return of Syrian refugees.

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