Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan today called Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad a terrorist and said it was impossible for Syrian peace efforts to continue with him, Reuters reported.
Turkey has demanded the removal of Al-Assad from power and backed opposition groups fighting to overthrow him, but it has toned down its demands since it started working with Al-Assad’s allies Russia and Iran for a political resolution.
“Assad is definitely a terrorist who has carried out state terrorism,” Erdogan told a televised news conference with his Tunisian counterpart Beji Caid Essebsi in Tunis.
It is impossible to continue with Assad. How can we embrace the future with a Syrian president who has killed close to a million of his citizens?
Despite its differences with Russia and Iran, Turkey has worked with the two powers in the search for a political solution in Syria.
Ankara, Moscow and Tehran also brokered a deal to set up and monitor a “de-escalation zone” to reduce fighting between insurgents and Syrian government forces in Syria’s rebel-held northwestern Idlib province.
“We can’t say [Assad] will handle this. It is impossible for Turkey to accept this. Northern Syria has been handed over as a terror corridor. There is no peace in Syria and this peace won’t come with Assad,” Erdogan said.