ISTANBUL, October 18. /TASS/. No representatives of the Syrian government will attend or take part in the Turkey-Russia talks in Sochi on October 22, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.
"No, they will not be there or take part in them," he said at a briefing for foreign journalists in Istanbul.
After the severance of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Syria in 2011, Turkish politicians have been rejecting any possibility of establishing dialogue with the current authorities in Damascus.
The Turkish leader also commented Damascus’ statement about its readiness to confront "turkey’s aggression." "We reached an agreement not with the Bashar Assad regime but with the United States. If Assad makes such mistake he will have to face Turkey’s response. And they are aware of that. So, I don’t think it will happen," Erdogan said.
On October 9, Ankara launched its Peace Spring military operation in northern Syria. The operation is geared to establish a buffer zone in Syria’s northern regions, along the Turkish border, where Syrian refugees could return from Turkey. Syria’s SANA news agency slammed Ankara’s operation as an act of aggression. The world community has condemned Ankara’s actions.
On October 17, the United States and Turkey reached an agreement to suspend combat operation. Turkey agreed to cease fire for a span of 120 hours to give Kurdish units of the Syrian Democratic Forces time to leave the area of the border security zone Ankara is seeking to create.
Syrian President Bashar Assad said earlier on Friday that in terms of international law Turkey’s offensive is nothing but "aggression and the Syrian people has the legal right to resist occupational troops using all the means they have.".