Damascus waits concrete steps to normalize relations with Turkey
The normalization process between Turkey and Syria saw progress, albeit limited, as a new world order set up more appropriate conditions for the redevelopment of relations between the neighboring countries,
said Nidal Kabalan, the former Ankara Ambassador of Syria, in an interview with BBC Turkish.
Kabalan said Damascus awaited concrete steps from Ankara before making any official statements.
Turkey and Syria recently stepped up contacts to find a political solution to the conflict as Russia wants to focus more on the war with Ukraine, where it recently suffered serious defeats.
Sources said Turkey's intelligence chief has been to Damascus multiple times over the last few weeks and held meetings with his Syrian counterpart.
Pro-government Hurriyet newspaper said last week that President Erdogan was ready to meet with Bashar al-Assad if the Syrian leader had attended a summit being held in Uzbekistan.
Kabalan claimed Syria had some preconditions before starting a normalization process with Turkey.
“The control in Idlib province should be completely transferred to the Syrian administration,” Kabalan said. Turkish forces currently deploy 12 positions in the northwestern Idlib region along with anti-Assad rebels.
Kabalan also said the M4 highway that cuts through Syria’s most strategic areas should also be controlled by the Syrian government. Currently, Russia, the US and Turkey each have a share of control in this critical highway which links the Iraqi border with the coastal plain on the Mediterranean.
Kabalan also said Turkey should cut military, financial and intelligence support to the groups that Syrian regime define as “terrorists."
Kabalan proposed that Turkey take a small step like stopping Syrian opposition TV channels broadcasting from Turkey.
According to Kabalan, the return of the Syrian refugees from Turkey required cooperation from regional countries as well as international organizations.
“I think the question of Syrian refugees can be solved in the near future. I believe that most of the refugees can return to their countries safely. Syria issued several versions of amnesty for them. Some people spread propaganda that the Syrian administration arrests those who return. I have seen hundreds of thousands of people who have returned, even those who have carried weapons,” he said.