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Turkish Defense Minister Renews Talk About Military Presence of his Country’s Forces in Syria

Turkish Defense Minister Yaşar Güler emphasized that Turkey will not withdraw its forces from Syrian territory, according to Athr Press.

Turkish Defense Minister Yaşar Güler stated in a press interview on Monday that Turkey seeks to normalize relations with Syria. However, he emphasized that Turkey will not withdraw its forces from Syrian territory.

Guler, speaking to NTV, expressed Turkey’s desire to improve relations with Syria after years of tensions, stating, “We don’t want another country’s territory at a time when Turkey and Syria aim to normalize relations.” He acknowledged that the presence of Turkish forces in northern Syria is viewed as an obstacle by the Syrian state, but he justified it by citing the need to protect Turkey’s borders from security threats posed by the PKK and PYD organizations, as reported by the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah.

Güler criticized the U.S. support for these organizations, saying, “Some friendly countries provide all kinds of support to terrorists,” and emphasized the necessity of keeping them away from Turkish territory.

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In a related development, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on December 6th a plan to clear the Tal Rifaat area and other regions in northern Syria from Kurdish terrorist organizations. He stressed the importance of securing areas near the borders where terrorists gather, particularly Tal Rifaat, according to the Turkish Anadolu Agency.

These Turkish statements align with renewed discussions about reactivating the reconciliation process between Syria and Turkey. In late November, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdollahian discussed recent regional developments. Abdollahian expressed Iran’s commitment to supporting efforts to normalize relations between Ankara and Damascus. The discussions also covered addressing the activities of the PKK in northern Iraq and Syria, including its extension in Syria through the YPG, a major component of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Russian President’s envoy to Syria, Alexander Yefimov, highlighted the significance of the Syrian-Turkish reconciliation issue, describing it as a focal point for mediators. Yefimov stated, “We still consider the restoration of relations between Damascus and Ankara one of the important factors in the Syrian settlement.” He believes that improving neighbourly relations based on respect for Syria’s sovereignty will not only positively impact Syria but also contribute to the overall regional situation.

The Syrian government consistently underscores the complete withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syrian territory as a fundamental requirement for successful reconciliation with Turkey. President Bashar al-Assad, during a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdollahian, emphasized the inevitability of Turkish withdrawal as a crucial condition for the return of normal relations. Abdollahian, in turn, stressed the importance of respecting Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity during the meeting.


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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