Syrian officials reiterate call for Turkish withdrawal at Moscow talks
Syrian officials have reiterated their call for the complete withdrawal of Turkish military forces from their territory, as representatives from Turkey, Russia, Iran, and Syria met in Moscow on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria.
The quartet meeting was attended by Burak Akcapar, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Turkey; Ayman Susan, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Syria; Ali Asgar Haci, the Political Advisor to the Foreign Minister of Iran; and Mihail Bogdanov, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Russia.
The meeting marks the latest attempt by regional powers to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict, but the issue of foreign military presence in Syria remains a major point of contention.
The Syrian government has emphasized the need for a genuine commitment to dialogue and respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as it seeks to regain control of its territory and restore stability to the war-torn country.
According to reports from the Syrian official news agency, SANA, Susan called on all countries, including Turkey, to withdraw their troops from Syria ahead of the meeting.
Susan emphasized that Syria looks positively at the efforts of its Russian and Iranian allies to restore communication between Syria and Turkey. However, he stated that there are specific conditions that must be met to achieve this goal.
"Real will and serious dialogue are necessary to achieve this goal. The first and most important condition is the complete commitment to Syria's sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and unity. This fundamental principle must be applied on the ground immediately, starting with the withdrawal of all illegal foreign forces from Syrian territory, including Turkish forces. If this principle is not implemented and translated into concrete actions, it will not mean anything,” Sana quoted Susan as saying.
"The efforts of the Syrian state to regain control over all its territories, including those under terrorist control, should not be hindered. It is important to respect Syria's sovereignty and not interfere in its internal affairs. This includes abandoning support for and protection of terrorist groups in the Idlib region, which have become a reservoir and safe haven for terrorists, posing a threat to security and stability and endangering the lives of civilians in the area."
Encouraged by President Bashar al-Assad's ally Russia, Syrian and Turkish officials held meetings last year, in a move towards normalizing ties between states on opposing sides of Syria's 12-year-long conflict.
But Assad last month ruled out any meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan until Turkey is ready to withdraw its military from northern Syria, deemed occupying forces by the Syrian president.