Friday, February 3, 2023

Syria, Russia, Turkey defence chiefs hold meeting in Moscow

Defence ministers of Syria, Russia and Turkey have held talks in Moscow in a clear sign of normalisation between Ankara and Damascus in the decade-long Syrian war.

Turkish defence minister Hulusi Akar and the head of its National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), Hakan Fidan, met Syrian defence minister Ali Mahmoud Abbas and Syrian intelligence chief Ali Mamlouk in Moscow along with Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu, the Turkish defence ministry said on Wednesday.

“Ways of resolving the Syrian crisis and the problem of refugees as well as joint efforts to combat extremist groups in Syria have been discussed,” RIA news agency reported, citing the Russian defence ministry.

“Syrian crisis, refugee issue and efforts of joint fight against all terror organisations on Syrian soil were discussed in the constructive meeting,” the ministry’s statement said on Wednesday.

“Turkish, Russian and Syrian defence ministers as well as intelligence chiefs in Moscow have agreed to continue tripartite meetings to ensure stability in Syria and in the region as a whole,” it added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this month announced that he proposed to Russian President Vladimir Putin forming a trilateral mechanism with Russia and Syria to accelerate diplomacy between Ankara and Damascus.

On various occasions in recent months, the Turkish leader stated he could meet Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

A normalisation between the relations of Ankara and Damascus would reshape the decade-long devastating Syrian war.

Turkish backing has been vital to sustaining Syrian rebels in their last major territorial foothold in the northwest, after President al-Assad’s forces defeated the fighters across the rest of the country, aided by Russia and Iran.

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