BEIRUT LEBANON (10:10 A.M.) – The Spokesperson for the Turkish President Ibrahim Kalin said on Monday that Ankara does maintain low-level ties with the Syrian government, but they do not recognize the legitimacy of President Bashar Al-Assad, the Daily Sabah reported.

“Turkish intelligence departments may sometimes have contacts with various regime elements in al-Hasakah and Qamishli, including Damascus [government], in the framework of Turkey’s security and the overall safety of Turkish operations in Syria,” Kalin told members of the Turkish cabinet on Monday.

“This does not mean that Turkey recognizes the legitimacy of the [Syrian] regime,” he added.

Kalin’s comments came just 24 hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that his regime has maintained low-level contacts with the Damascus.

Ankara and Damascus have repeatedly accused each other of supporting terrorists over the last eight years, further distancing themselves diplomatically in the region.

US sanctions reinstated on Tehran have had a limited impact on Iranian operations in Syria, the US Defense Department’s Inspector General said in a report on Monday.

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