Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Turkey says to soon begin developing roadmap to normalize relations with Syria

Ankara will soon create a committee and start developing a roadmap for the normalization of ties with Damascus, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday.

Last week, Moscow hosted a quadrilateral ministerial meeting of the top diplomats from Russia, Iran, Turkey and Syria on the restoration of relations between Ankara and Damascus.

According to Cavusoglu, the meeting was constructive.

“We have decided to develop a roadmap. In the near future, a committee will be created in the department of the deputy foreign minister together with other departments and work will begin on the development of this roadmap,” Cavusoglu told reporters.

At the end of the four-party meeting in Moscow, top diplomats from Iran, Turkey, Russia and Syria stressed the Arab country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and setting up a roadmap to improve strained ties between Damascus and Ankara.

They also emphasized the importance of increasing international humanitarian aid to Syria with the aim of facilitating the voluntary, safe and dignified return of Syrians to their homeland and post-war reconstruction.

The agreement comes a week after Syria and Arab governments meeting in Jordan agreed to set up a roadmap of their own to resolve the Syrian conflict and improve ties.

Syria has been returning to the Arab fold and restoring relations with its neighbors in a slow but steady process that culminated with a decision Sunday by the Arab League to reinstate Syria’s membership after 12 years.

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 supported by Ankara.

Since 2016, Turkey has launched several military incursions in northwest Syria and captured an important enclave previously held by US-backed Kurdish forces fighting the Damascus government.

Russia and Iran, on the other hand, entered Syria at the request of Damascus, and played a key role in defeating the terrorists and reclaiming much of the country back.

Syria and Turkey are currently taking steps toward reconciliation after 11 years.

In the last bid to mend ties between Ankara and Damascus, the defense ministers and intelligence chiefs of Russia, Syria, Turkey, and Iran met in Moscow late last month and discussed the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Syria.

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 Syrian conflict.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in January that a rapprochement with Turkey would depend on Turkey ending its occupation of northern Syria and its support for militant groups fighting against the Damascus government.

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