January 13, 2017 / 3:44 PM / 10 months ago

Turkey says united, peaceful Syria impossible with Assad

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey still believes a united and peaceful Syria is impossible with President Bashar al-Assad but wants to proceed “step-by-step” and see the outcome of planned peace talks in Astana, President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Friday.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks to French journalists in Damascus, Syria, in this handout picture provided by SANA on January 9, 2017. SANA/Handout via REUTERS

“Our position on Assad is clear. We don’t believe that a united, peaceful Syria will be possible with Assad remaining in power. But we will see how Astana talks go, we want to go step by step at this point,” Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said.

Speaking to reporters at a roundtable in Ankara, Kalin said fighting in Syria had largely stopped over the past two weeks under a ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey.

Reporting by Nick Tattersall; Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Ralph Boulton

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