(Photo Credit : SANA)
On 12 January, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with the special envoy of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss Moscow’s proposal to establish bilateral talks between Damascus and Ankara; however, Assad remarked that any talks between the two states would require Ankara to end its presence in northern Syria.
The Syrian government indicated that the discussions during the meeting revolved around international and regional issues, with Assad noting that media and political battles are at their height in recent years, adding that these disputes require more stability regarding clarity on political positions, referencing Damascus’s position on Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
Russia’s envoy, Alexander Lavrentiev, clarified that Moscow appreciates Damascus’s position throughout the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and despite Washington’s efforts in placing pressure on nations on good and neutral terms with Russia, it failed to isolate Moscow and Damascus.
Lavrentiev also reiterated that Moscow is seeking a tripartite meeting between Turkiye, Russia, and Syria, stressing the importance of following up with one another to resolve tensions between the neighboring countries.
Earlier this month, the US Department of State spokesman, Ned Price, expressed grave concern over Turkiye’s recent rapprochement with the Syrian government, adding that the US calls on its allies and international partners to refrain from normalizing ties with Damascus.
The Turkish Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar, has previously affirmed Turkiye’s respect for the sovereignty of Syria and announced their presence in the country is limited to fighting Turkish-designated terrorist groups, such as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Moscow’s mediation between Ankara and Damascus parallels the UAE’s rapprochement with Syria, where on 4 January, the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah bin Zayed, was received by Assad, in an attempt to develop economic and trade relations.
The Syrian President stressed that the relations between Syria and the UAE are historical, considering it natural for the two Arab states to bolster its ties to serve mutual interests, while the UAE foreign minister emphasized that Abu Dhabi also wants to expand bilateral cooperation.