“Turkey, as you know, is in favor of normalizing relations with Damascus,” Lavrov said today during his annual press conference from Moscow
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced today Wednesday a tripartite meeting with his counterparts from Ankara and Damascus with Syria as the subject of discussion, with Moscow taking an active mediating role.
“Turkey, as you know, is in favor of normalizing relations with Damascus,” Lavrov said today during his annual press conference from Moscow.
Russia has been asked to mediate between the two neighbors, he said. Therefore, a meeting of foreign ministers has now been arranged, added the head of Russian diplomacy.
After a break of more than a decade due to the war in Syria, where Turkey supports rebels fighting the Damascus regime, the defense ministers of the two countries met last December with the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to leave open the possibility of meeting with his Syrian counterpart Basal al-Assad, whom he had called a “terrorist” years ago.
Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said a meeting of the foreign ministers of Turkey, Syria and Russia would take place “as soon as possible, perhaps in early February.”
“One day the war will be over, but how to live after that – I don’t know yet” – Lavrov pic.twitter.com/vL5Pq8xFFX
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) January 18, 2023
The “thorns” remain
Despite the rapprochement steps, the Syrian president said late last week that any talks should aim for “the end of Turkey’s occupation” of Syrian territory, and over the weekend President Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, warned that “a ground military operation in Syria is possible at any moment.”
Turkey has launched three attacks on Syrian soil since 2016 against Kurdish forces in the north, which have allowed it to bring a border strip on the Syrian side under Turkish control.
“One of the biggest problems is Idlib,” Lavrov said today. Turkey, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, must separate the pro-Turkish forces there from the al-Nusra Front, which Moscow and Damascus characterize as terrorist.
Joint Turkish-Russian patrols along the main highway to Aleppo have also not worked so far, Lavrov admitted.
“One day this war will end. Anyway, we will defend our truth. How else we will continue to live, I can’t imagine yet. Everything will depend on the conclusions that Europe will draw,” Lavrov said.
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I have worked as a journalist for over 8 years. I have written for many different news outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN. I have also published my own book on the history of the world. I am currently a freelance writer and editor, and I am always looking for new opportunities to write and edit interesting content.