During a meeting with visiting Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih al-Fayyadh in Damascus on Thursday, Assad said foreign schemes in the Middle East region have been foiled throughout history, and the Turkish criminal aggression, launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration, on Syria falls within such plots.
“No matter what false slogans could be made up for the Turkish offensive, it is a flagrant invasion and aggression. Syria has frequently hit (Turkish-backed) proxies and terrorists in more than one place. Syria will respond to the assault and confront it anywhere within the Syrian territory through all legitimate means available,” the Syrian leader said.
Fayyadh, for his part, conveyed Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s message, which focused on further expansion of bilateral ties between the two countries in various areas of interest, particularly with regard to combating terrorism and border security in light of the recent developments, economic cooperation and re-opening of border crossings.
The meeting was also attended by Syrian Ambassador to Iraq Sattam al-Dandah.
Assad's remarks came after an unknown source in the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates earlier on Thursday strongly condemned the ongoing ground offensive by Turkish forces and their allied militants against Kurdish regions of the country.
The source said, “This treacherous Turkish aggression is the outcome of the expansionist ambitions and illusions of Erdogan’s regime, and it affirms that the regime is classified among terrorist groups to which it has provided all forms of support. The offensive deals a heavy blow to the efforts aimed at finding a solution to the crisis in Syria. It makes, therefore, the Turkish regime lose its position as a guarantor of the Astana peace process as its aggression completely contradicts the principles and decisions of the process.”
Russia, Iran say ready to facilitate talks on Syria
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov talked on phone with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Thursday, about the ongoing situation in Syria.
According to a statement released by Russian Foreign Ministry, during the phone call, the two foreign ministers discussed the situation in northeastern Syria and expressed their readiness to facilitate relevant talks.
Both Lavrov and Zarif emphasized that it was imperative to reach long-lasting stabilization on the eastern side of the Euphrates River via the "dialogue between Damascus and Ankara, as well as between the Syrian authorities and representatives of Syrian Kurds," the statement added.
The foreign ministers of Iran and Russia also declared the readiness of their respective countries to facilitate talks among various parties involved in the ongoing developments in northern Syria.
Zarif also discussed the situation in northeastern Syria in phone calls to his Iraqi and Syrian counterparts, Press TV reported.