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New Russian Mediation Between Syrian Regime and Turkey

Sources within the Syrian opposition told Syria TV that the guarantors of the Astana process are planning a new round of talks at the end of June or early July, building on Russian-Turkish agreements.  
New Russian Mediation Between Syrian Regime and Turkey

The Syrian regime’s news agency reported Bashar al-Assad’s positive reception of proposed initiatives for rapprochement with the Turkish side. These remarks were made during the visit of Alexander Lavrentyev, Russia’s special envoy to Syria, who met with Assad on June 26.

Assad’s comments indicated ongoing Russian efforts to promote reconciliation between Ankara and Damascus. Syria TV has learned from reliable sources that Russia aims to leverage Turkish discontent over the upcoming local elections planned by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in August, which were initially scheduled for June.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan openly expressed Turkish displeasure with the elections, even suggesting military intervention to prevent them during televised remarks on Eid al-Adha. Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan discussed the Syrian issue and the SDF’s election plans with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the BRICS summit in mid-June.

Sources within the Syrian opposition report that the guarantors of the Astana process are planning a new round of talks at the end of June or early July, building on Russian-Turkish agreements.  

Rapprochement between Ankara and Damascus 

According to information from private sources obtained by Syria TV, Russia is actively engaging with Ankara and Damascus to advance the path of reconciliation, particularly since Moscow has discerned Turkey’s interest in enhancing coordination on Syria. This interest was indicated by Fidan’s visit to Moscow and Ankara’s earlier openness to Iraqi mediation.

The current Russian proposal aims to reinvigorate the Astana process by addressing Turkey’s security concerns and implementing previous agreements. These agreements include measures to remove terrorist organizations from Turkish border regions like Tal Rifaat, its environs, and Manbij. Simultaneously, efforts are underway to resolve outstanding issues in Idlib, implement related agreements, support local governance structures, and reopen international roads.

According to the Russian perspective, any return to negotiations between Ankara and Damascus should be unconditional on the regime’s part, followed by discussions on the gradual redeployment of Turkish forces once mutual confidence is established.

In recent weeks, Turkish and Russian officials have been in talks regarding facilitating trade between northern Syria and areas controlled by the Syrian regime. This culminated in the reopening of the Abu al-Zindeen crossing in al-Bab, scheduled for commercial truck traffic to Aleppo starting June 27, 2024. This step aims to reduce reliance on Manbij as the primary transit point between northern and regime-controlled areas.

The future of the Russian proposal 

There is a possibility that these agreements could lead to the opening of additional routes extending to Aleppo, contingent upon reaching a mutual understanding and completing anti-terrorism operations to prevent the SDF from occupying critical locations necessary for opening these routes.

While Ankara directs its efforts towards undermining PKK control in northern Iraq, it appears prepared for military action in Syria, viewing the upcoming elections as an attempt to impose a new reality on the ground. This has prompted efforts to engage with key stakeholders in the Syrian issue, notably Russia, although it is premature to speak of complete consensus at this stage.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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