On 4 January, Turkiye’s Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar, announced that the Turkish military could expand joint patrols with the Russian Army in northern Syria to bring security to the region.
“We can expand the joint patrols with Russia in the north of Syria,” Akar told a group of reporters when asked about his discussions in Moscow, according to a defense ministry statement.
Akar’s talks with Syria’s Ali Mahmoud Abbas marked the first ministerial-level meeting between Turkiye and Syria since relations broke down with the start of the Syrian war more than 11 years ago.
After a cease-fire was established, which ended a government offensive supported by Russia against the final opposition stronghold in the northwest, Turkiye and Russia began cooperating on patrols in March 2020.
In addition, following the ministerial meeting between Ankara and Damascus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated his openness to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as part of “efforts for peace,” according to Al-Akhbar news.
Erdogan noted during a speech in Ankara on 5 January that a tripartite conference with the foreign ministries of Turkiye, Russia, and Syria is slated to take place to further improve communication.
However, the leader of Syria’s major opposition coalition declared that his movement’s stance toward President Bashar al-Assad’s government would not change, according to The New Arab.
The leader of the Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Salem Al-Meslet, declared that “the al-Assad regime is a genocidal regime that has committed thousands of war crimes and massacres against the defenseless Syrian people” in a statement that was posted on the group’s website.
He declared that the opposition movement was still dedicated to overthrowing the government.
Al-Meslet said that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had assured him that “no change in Turkey’s policies” would occur and that “no one spoke of normalization or reconciliation with the Assad regime.”