No solution to Syria while Assad remains, says Turkish premier

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim warns that there can be no solution to the Syrian conflict while President Bashar Assad remains in charge. (AFP / ADEM ALTAN)
Updated 15 July 2016

No solution to Syria while Assad remains, says Turkish premier

ISTANBUL: Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has warned there can be no solution to the Syrian conflict or the threat from radicals while President Bashar Assad remains in charge.
In recent days, Yildirim has repeatedly said Turkey would seek good relations with Syria after diplomatic successes with Israel and Russia, raising speculation of a possible change in Turkish policy.
However in an interview with the BBC broadcast late on Wednesday, Yildirim said Assad had to go because with him in charge, the conflict would not be solved.
“On one hand, there’s Assad and on the other, Daesh. If you ask, should we prefer Assad or Daesh, we cannot choose one over the other. They both have to go — they’re both trouble for Syrians,” he said.
“Let’s imagine we got rid of Daesh, the problem still won’t be solved. As long as Assad is there, the problem won’t be solved. Another terrorist organization would emerge.”
He accused the Assad regime of creating Daesh through its policy of killing its own citizens deliberately.
Meanwhile, Assad said in an interview released Thursday that his Russian ally has “never” discussed a political transition with him, despite international support for such a process.
Speaking to NBC News in Damascus, the embattled leader insisted his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had never raised the issue of his departure or a political transition with him.
“Only the Syrian people define who’s going to be the president, when to come, and when to go. They never said a single word regarding this,” he said.


Palestinian shot, killed after ramming car into Israeli forces, police say

Updated 23 min 55 sec ago

Palestinian shot, killed after ramming car into Israeli forces, police say

  • The Palestinian man was taken to a nearby Israeli hospital after being shot and died of his wounds

JERUSALEM: Israeli security forces fatally shot a Palestinian driver who tried to ram his car into them at a checkpoint on Jerusalem’s outskirts on Wednesday after he raised suspicions by presenting apparently fake identification papers, police said.
The man was taken to a nearby Israeli hospital after being shot and died of his wounds, a hospital spokeswoman said.
There was no immediate comment from Palestinian officials.
“Suspicion arose that the documents presented by the driver were not his and he was apparently trying to impersonate someone else,” a police statement said.
“During the security check, the suspect started speeding, hitting a border policeman who was at the scene. Following this, the policeman and the security personnel fired at the vehicle,” police said in a statement.
The Israeli policeman was lightly injured, police said.
Palestinians carried out a wave of car-rammings in Jerusalem and the West Bank in late 2015 and 2016, but the frequency of such incidents has since ebbed.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks broke down in 2014. The Palestinians want to establish a state in east Jerusalem, the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.