Turkish, Syrian foreign ministers to meet on Wednesday in Moscow - report

Turkish, Syrian foreign ministers to meet on Wednesday in Moscow - report
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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Syrian counterpart will meet in Moscow to continue normalization between the neighboring countries. Next step will be a meeting between the countries’ leaders

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Syrian counterpart Faisal al-Miqdad will meet in Moscow on Wednesday in the presence of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as part of a series of talks to find conciliation between two neighbors that have been fighting proxy war for the last 11 years, Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper said on Sunday.

According to the report, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also wanted to join the meeting, to pave the way for a summit that includes Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, before the Turkish elections in the middle of this year.

According to the information, the UAE offered to host this summit, while it was reported that a senior Emirati official might participate in it if it was held in Moscow, noting that Al-Assad visited the UAE in the middle of last year and met with Emirati President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. The issue was also discussed in the meeting that included Al-Assad and Sheikh Abdullah in Damascus last Wednesday, during the Emirati minister’s second visit to Damascus after November 2021.

Cavusoglu is planning to visit Washington on January 16 to inform American officials about the developments of normalization with Damascus, his meeting with Al-Miqdad, and the “road map” sponsored by Russia in the security, military, political and economic fields, according to the agreement of the defense ministers and intelligence chiefs in Syria, Turkey and Russia in the past weeks, including making arrangements in Northeastern Syria, where US forces are deployed to support the "Syrian Democratic Forces" (SDF) against "ISIS".

A Western diplomat told Asharq Al-Awsat that a high-ranking US official will visit Ankara in the near future, as part of efforts to mediate between Turkey and the Kurds in northeastern Syria.

The US State Department has repeatedly said it opposes any normalization between Turkey and Syria.

Ankara has been demanding that Moscow and Washington commit to the implementation of the military agreements they signed in late 2019 and that call for the withdrawal of the backbone of the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces,) the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), 30 kilometers deep from Syria’s northern border with Turkey. The withdrawal also includes the regions of Manbij and Tal Rifaat and demands the removal of heavy weapons from the buffer zone.

The SDF has said that it has fulfilled its commitments and that it will not pull out the Asayish police force and dismantle the local councils. Türkiye is insisting on the dismantling of all Kurdish civilian and military institutions in the area.

The American mediation is aiming to reach middle ground between Ankara and the Kurds to avert a new Turkish incursion in Syria before the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections set for mid-2023.