World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday emphasized the maintenance of Syria's territorial integrity, rejecting any scenarios for partitioning the country.
"We have agreed that Syria will sustain its presence as a strong, unitary Syria. We do not want a partitioned Syria," Davutoglu told reporters ahead of his departure for Brussels, where he will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands, the holder of the rotating EU presidency.
Davutoglu said he discussed the issue with Iranian officials on Saturday's visit to Tehran and evoked the Sykes-Picot agreement, the 1916 secret agreement between Britain and France that established the borders of the modern Middle East, and is widely blamed for many of its current woes.
"100 years ago, Sykes-Picot partitioned the region. We should not allow again the division into small pieces. We must enter into efforts that could unite the region on a large scale. Here, there are contributions Iran and Turkey can make," the prime minister said.
In his remarks, Davutoglu called for a political structure in post-Assad Syria "where every national is represented and no one is excluded".
"As this was not done in Iraq, we can all see that peace and serenity in Iraq have not been maintained".
Syria has remained locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to UN figures.