Turkiye ‘reviewing options’ for Syria withdrawal: Report
Ankara says that the long-planned four-way meeting between Russia, Iran, Syria, and Turkiye could happen ‘within days’
By News Desk - March 23 2023

(Photo credit: The Daily Beast)

Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar released a report on 23 March claiming that Turkiye is willing to make concessions regarding the fate of its military presence in Syria, and is reviewing options to set a timeframe for the withdrawal of its troops from the country.

This comes in light of Damascus’ repeated insistence that the continuation of normalization efforts between the two countries depends on this condition.

“Turkish officials are studying, at the present time, several options regarding the fate of the Turkish military presence in Syria and the possibility of setting a schedule to end it in connection with field, humanitarian and political developments,” Syrian opposition sources told Al-Akhbar.

According to these sources, Turkiye will present proposals on this matter to Russian and Iranian mediators and is hoping that Tehran and Moscow will be able to act as “guarantors” to convince Syria that Ankara will properly implement any agreement that is reached, “whatever the results of the Turkish presidential elections.”

Damascus said in January that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is using the reconciliation with Syria as a ploy to secure himself in the upcoming election in Turkiye. Many have reinforced this, alleging that Erdogan wishes to use the normalization to portray himself as a champion in diplomacy, and as the solver of the Syrian refugee crisis in Turkiye.

Since the devastating earthquake that struck Turkiye and Syria at the start of last month, Erdogan’s chances at reelection have slimmed, according to the most recent polls.

Russia is currently working to set a date for a four-way meeting between the foreign ministers of Ankara, Damascus, Moscow, and Tehran, aimed at moving forward with the reconciliation. However, this meeting has so far failed to materialize, given Syria’s insistence on clear Turkish concessions.

According to Al-Akhbar, Turkiye’s newfound willingness to concede on the issue of its military presence is the reason behind the Turkish foreign minister’s latest claim that the meeting could be held “within days.”

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