Turkey committed to leaving Syria after settlement, Syrian opposition says
GENEVA (Reuters) – A senior member of Syria’s political opposition said on Monday that Turkey had given assurances it would withdraw forces from northern Syria once a final political settlement is reached.
“I met the [Turkish] minister of foreign affairs and the security forces, they…committed to leave Syria after the final settlement,” Bader Jamous, president of the opposition Syrian High Negotiations Committee, said through a translator during an online briefing.
The Turkish government did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Turkish officials have previously said they expected Ankara’s forces would be withdrawn once an agreeable political settlement with Damascus is attained.
Turkey openly supported Syrian opposition groups during Syria’s more than decade-long civil war – fighting has now largely subsided – and seized parts of the northwest, conducting incursions against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia.
Turkey says the YPG is a wing of the PKK insurgency in southeast Turkey that is deemed a terrorist group by Ankara, the United States and the European Union, though Washington allied with the YPG against Islamic State in Syria’s conflict.
Syria regards Turkey as an occupying force in its north and said it would consider any new Turkish incursions to be “war crimes.”
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber in Geneva and Ece Toksabay in Ankara; editing by Mark Heinrich)