Russia | Meeting of Turkish, Syrian and Russian Defence Ministers
Defence Redefined
Published on 29/12/2022 at 16:00

Talks were held for the first time yesterday between the Defence Ministers of Turkey and Syria in a tripartite meeting in Moscow also attended by their Russian counterpart. 

This was the first official ministerial-level meeting between Ankara and Damascus since the start of the war in Syria in 2011.

Talks between Russia’s Sergei Shoigu, Turkey’s Hulusi Akar, and Syria’s Ali Mahmoud Abbas focused on ways to resolve the Syrian crisis and the issue of refugees as well as on joint efforts to deal with extremist organizations, added the announcement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The sides underlined the constructive nature of the dialogue, conducted in this format, and the need for ongoing talks in order to stabilize Syria, the Russian Ministry continued. 

For its part, the Turkish Defence Ministry reported that the meeting was held in a positive atmosphere. The Foreign Ministers did, however, hold a brief, informal discussion on the sidelines of a regional summit in 2021, with Ankara previously admitting to intelligence contacts.

According to Turkish media, the powerful head of the Turkish Intelligence Service (MIT), Hakan Fidan, as well as his Syrian counterpart, Ali Mamluk, also participated.

Also read: Syria | Sixth day of Turkish shelling of Kurdish positions

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened several times in recent weeks to launch a ground military operation in northern Syria, targeting Kurdish rebels who control part of that region. 

Last week Akar said Ankara was in contact with Moscow about opening Syrian airspace to Turkish warplanes.

The war in Syria, which began with anti-government protests and then turned into a complex conflict involving many foreign countries, has led to a crisis in Ankara’s relations with Damascus. Turkey, a staunch opponent of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime since the start of the war, has supported Syrian rebel groups and taken in some 4 million Syrian refugees. 

Yet, Turkey, whose military forces are on Syrian territory south of the border of the two countries, has recently changed its attitude towards Damascus. Erdogan, who has called Assad a “murderer” many times, did not rule out a meeting with him last month.

Also read: Erdogan | Threats over new ground military operation in Syria




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