Syrian, Turkish officials to meet in Iraq for restoration of diplomatic relations after over a decade: Report

Turkish and Syrian officials are expected to meet in the Iraqi capital Baghdad for the potential rapprochement between their respective countries, and restoration of diplomatic ties which were severed more than 12 years ago, media reported.

Al-Watan daily newspaper, citing informed sources who asked not to be named, reported that the upcoming meeting will be the first step on the path of a long process of negotiations that would result in political understandings.

The sources added that Ankara has called on Moscow and Baghdad to prepare the ground for Turkish diplomats to sit at the negotiating table with the Syrian side without any third party or members of the press present.

Al-Watan noted that the imitative for Turkey-Syria rapprochement, and restoration of their diplomatic ties has received broad support from Arab states, especially from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as from Russia, China and Iran.

On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated there is no reason for his country not to forge renewed ties with neighboring Syria.

“There is no reason not to establish (relations with Syria),” Erdogan told reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul.

He emphasized that Ankara has no plans or goals to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs, adding, “Just as we once developed relations between Turkey and Syria, we will act together in the same way again.”

Turkey severed its relations with Syria in March 2012, a year after the Arab country found itself in the grip of rampant and deadly violence waged by foreign-backed militants, including those allegedly supported by Ankara.

The process of normalizing ties between Ankara and Damascus kicked off on December 28, 2022, when the Russian, Syrian and Turkish defense ministers met in Moscow, in what was the highest-level meeting between the two sides since the outbreak of the Syria conflict.

Since 2016, Turkey has conducted three major ground operations against US-backed militants based in northern Syria.

The Turkish government accuses the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants of bearing ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group.

Syria considers the Turkish presence on its soil to be illegal, saying it reserves the right to defend its sovereignty against the occupying forces.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has tied rapprochement with Turkey to Ankara’s ending occupation of the northern parts of the Arab country and its support for militant groups wreaking havoc and fighting against the Damascus government.

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