Assad: "Turkey is needed for peace in the region"
Turkey should be involved in all aspects of any peace process between Syria and Israel, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with Turkish state-owned Arabic channel TRT Turkiyya on Wednesday. Assessing Turkish-Syrian relations and regional developments – especially in light of Turkey's mediation of indirect peace talks between Syria and Israel – Assad said Turkey has achieved great success and that the country should be involved in all efforts to secure peace. Syria and other regional neighbors have full confidence in Turkish officials, he said, adding that relations between Turkey and Syria have improved significantly in a surprisingly short period of time. Assad said envoys from the two countries are trying to accommodate Syria's demands for the return of the Golan Heights and Israel's security objectives. Turkey's stance on certain regional matters has helped improve Turkish-Syrian ties, he said, and the two countries enjoy full trust in each another. Asked about an earlier statement saying Turkish-Israeli tensions could hurt the peace process, Assad said he meant a total breakdown in ties could affect the peace process. Assad also said his country is watching developments in Iraq since they also directly affect Syria and that its territorial integrity carries paramount concern for Syria.