Russia, Syria, Turkey, Iran Hold High-Level Talks In Moscow
The foreign ministers of Russia, Syria, Turkey, and Iran met in Moscow on Wednesday for talks on mending ties between Ankara and Damascus, which have been on opposing sides in Syria's 12-year civil war.
- The foreign ministers of Russia, Syria, Turkey, and Iran met in Moscow on Wednesday for talks on mending ties between Ankara and Damascus, which have been on opposing sides in Syria's 12-year civil war.1
- According to a joint statement by the ministers, Turkey and Syria agreed to create a roadmap to normalize their ties during the highest-level talks since the start of the war, in which Ankara has supported the political and armed opposition to Bashar al-Assad.2
- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said he had emphasized the importance of joining forces against terrorism as well as of creating conditions for the repatriation of Syrian refugees during the meeting, adding that the political process in Syria and the protection of Syria's territorial integrity were also discussed.3
- His Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad reportedly stated that both governments can cooperate despite years of animosity but claimed that the priority was ending unauthorized military presence in Syria, including Turkish forces.4
- The Russian-brokered talks followed a summit of Turkish, Syrian, and Russian defense and intelligence chiefs in Moscow last December. Iran, which along with Moscow supports the Syrian government, later joined the talks, and the four countries' defense ministers and intelligence chiefs met again in April.5
- The latest four-way talks came after Saudi Arabia, which had supported opposition groups against Assad during the Syrian conflict, and Syria agreed Wednesday to reopen their diplomatic missions, days after Syria's membership in the Arab League was restored.6
Sources: 1Al Jazeera, 2Daily Sabah, 3Reuters, 4Iran International, 5AL, and 6The Times of Israel.
- Narrative A, as provided by Tehran Times. The quadrilateral meeting is yet another milestone for the Russia-Iran-brokered reconciliation between Turkey and Syria. It also indicates that Syria's efforts to move beyond war and seek regional reintegration continue to gain momentum despite terrorism, separatism, and US forces' ongoing occupation of Syrian territory. Turkey appears to want to join this trend, and although complex issues remain to be resolved, the mere fact that talks are taking place will benefit both countries' people and regional security.
- Narrative B, as provided by Haaretz. Ankara's support for the Syrian regime's reintegration into the Arab fold and the détente between the Syrian regime and autocratic Turkey underscores populist Erdoğan's shameful policies. While he now seeks reconciliation with dictator Assad to score points in the upcoming polls, Ankara backed extremists and jihadists to topple Erdoğan's former friend. The West, which shares responsibility for the genesis of regional misery, has a moral duty to prevent the Syrian tyrant's return to the world stage.
- Narrative C, as provided by Responsible Statecraft. Given recent developments in the region, the time has come for Washington to admit that existing US policy toward Assad has failed to deliver. Instead of continuing to rely on sanctions and isolating the regime — and thus increasing the population's hardship — Washington will gain more leverage to get concessions from Assad if it supports Syria's reconciliation with its Arab neighbors and Turkey. Only this approach will help the US regain its leadership role in regional diplomacy.