08:29 GMT +321 October 2018
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    Syrians walk past a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad in the capital Damascus on March 15, 2016

    Erdogan's Claims That Assad is a 'Terrorist' Have No Legal Basis - Moscow

    © AFP 2018 / LOUAI BESHARA
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    The Russian Foreign Ministry has commented on the recent statement of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad a "terrorist".

    "Such evaluations do not have any legal basis… Such statements are groundless," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said during a briefing on Thursday, adding that the representatives of the Syrian government are members of the UN and represent the country's government in the UN Security Council.

    The statement was made after on December 27, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called his Syrian counterpart "definitely a terrorist who has carried out state terrorism" during a meeting with Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi, adding that "it is impossible to continue with him", claiming that Assad had allegedly killed about a million of Syrian citizens.

    The Syrian Foreign Ministry responded to these claims by saying that Erdogan was deceiving the public opinion in Turkey by claiming that Assad should not remain in power, adding that Ankara's policy "causes catastrophic consequences" for both countries. The Syrian president has repeatedly denied all allegations of targeting civilians.

    READ MORE: Erdogan Slams Assad as 'Terrorist', Damascus Reminds Him of Own 'Crimes'

    While both Russia and Turkey are the guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire and brokers of the Astana peace talks, their positions on the role of Assad in the future of the Arab Republic have differed since the civil war's beginning in 2011.

    While Moscow has repeatedly stressed that Assad was a legitimate president, underlining that it was up to the the Syrians to decide their own future, Ankara has been insisting that the Syrian president should leave his post.

    A similar stance has been recently voiced by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who said that the future of the Arab Republic's president and his government could only be resolved through talks.

    READ MORE: 'Assad Mustn't Go': How Qatar, France, Germany 'Wised Up in Regard to Syria'

    In his turn, Assad has previously refused to consider Ankara as its partner or a guarantor state in the peace talks, accusing the country of supporting terrorism. 

    Tags:
    Russian Foreign Ministry, Bashar al-Assad, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia, Syria, Turkey
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