Assad will 'respond to Turkish aggression' on any part of Syria

Syria’s president says he will respond to Turkish aggression on any part of the country, state media reports.

President Bashar al Assad reportedly said on Thursday that the country would respond on any part of its territory with “all legitimate means” available.

The comments come after an agreement between Damascus and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to fend off an assault launched by Turkey on northeastern Syria last week.

There have been concerns that the Turkish attack against Kurdish fighters may lead to a revival of activities by the Islamic State group that once controlled large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
President Bashar al Assad said he will respond to Turkish aggression on any part of Syria’s territory

Mr Assad added that the military operation is part of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ambitions and is being carried under “false slogans”.

Thursday also saw the arrival of a senior US delegation for meetings with Mr Erdogan on an improbable mission to push for a ceasefire in northern Syria.

Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House security adviser Robert O’Brien travelled in armoured SUVs to enter the vast Turkish presidency in Ankara to meet Mr Erdogan.

The US officials aim to persuade Mr Erdogan to halt an offensive against Kurdish fighters, though Turkish officials have said the action would continue regardless.

The assault has created a new humanitarian crisis in Syria with 200,000 civilians fleeing the region.

US president Donald Trump has been accused of abandoning Kurdish-led fighters by withdrawing troops from the border as Ankara launched its offensive on 9 October.

He has been battling to control the political damage since the decision, clearing the way for the Turkish incursion against the Kurds – America’s former allies.

On Wednesday, Mr Trump defended the move as “strategically brilliant”.

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He added that Mr Erdogan would have a successful meeting, but warned of sanctions and tariffs that would “be devastating to Turkey’s economy”.

The White House released a letter from Mr Trump to the Turkish leader that said he wanted to “work out a good deal” and that the Turkish leader was at risk of being viewed in history as “the devil”.

The letter also said “don’t be a tough guy” and “don’t be a fool!”

Turkish broadcaster CNN Turk reported that Turkey had rejected Mr Trump’s appeal to reach a deal to avoid conflict and the letter was “thrown in the trash”.

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