(Photo credit: AP)
During a televised speech on 30 January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that it is possible for Iran to participate in the Russian-sponsored reconciliation process between Ankara and Damascus.
“It is possible for Iran to participate in the tripartite talks between Turkiye, Syria, and Russia,” the Turkish president said.
“Our relations with Russia are based on mutual respect, and although we were unable to obtain the desired result regarding northern Syria, the tripartite talks [will be] held, and it is possible that Iran will take part in them,” he added.
This ‘desired result’ refers to the establishment of a 30 kilometer ‘safe-zone’ along the Syrian-Turkish border, aimed at pushing back the Kurdish militant presence in that area – something that has failed to materialize.
According to a recent exclusive by The Cradle that cites a Syrian political source, the recent visit of Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, to Syria was partly so that Tehran could address ‘misunderstandings’ over Damascus’ failure to inform the Iranians of “the extent of its contacts with Ankara, despite the fact that the Islamic Republic has frequently mediated between the two.”
These misunderstandings were “swiftly dealt with,” the exclusive adds.
On 27 January, Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported a significant increase in Russian diplomatic and military activity in Syria, aimed at preventing US attempts at obstructing the Turkish-Syrian reconciliation. According to Al-Akhbar, this is being done with “the presence and approval” of Tehran.
These obstruction efforts include Washington’s increased support to armed groups, such as the Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade and others. At the same time, the US is trying to “revitalize Kurdish-Kurdish dialogue,” possibly to deter Kurdish-Syrian and Kurdish-Russian dialogue. Additionally, the US has been trying to form a political alliance between the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and a newly created ‘opposition in exile,’ the Washington-based Syrian National Alliance (SNA) – which supports the idea of “decentralized federal rule” in Syria.
As the US persists with these efforts, Turkiye seems to be increasingly serious about adhering to the path of reconciliation with Syria, as their expansionist military presence and policy in the country are “no longer feasible,” according to a university professor and former Syrian diplomat in Turkiye, Bassam Abu Abdullah.