Turkey Must Withdraw Forces Before Activating Treaty, Syria Says

(Bloomberg) -- Turkey must withdraw its forces from Syria before the two countries can agree to revive a bilateral security treaty that Russia is pushing for, state-run Syria news agency reported Saturday.

Reactivating the 21-year-old treaty would require Turkey to "restore the situation on the border between the two countries and for the Turkish regime to commit to the agreement and end its support, financing and arming of terrorists and to withdraw its military forces," Sana cited a source at the Syrian foreign ministry as saying.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested that the treaty, which was signed between Syria and Turkey in 1998, should be reinstated, indirectly pressing Ankara to restore ties with embattled President Bashar Al Assad. Reviving the accord would lend legitimacy to Assad’s regime, according to Nihat Ali Ozcan, an analyst at the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey.

Turkey broke off ties with Syria soon after the eight-year long Syrian war broke out and has built up a significant military presence on the border. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday his country expects a safe zone in northern Syria to deter Kurdish fighters once U.S. forces pull out from the area and "will not wait indefinitely for promises to be kept."

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