The torrent of political reactions, analyses, and readings, along with the moves on the ground in the north, has not stopped since the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced the short chat he had with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Countries Summit held in Belgrade, in October 2021.
Syria’s Al-Watan newspaper said the meeting took place “at the urging of the Turkish minister.”
Oglu’s comments were a continuation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks following his meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi last week. In the meeting, he announced that his country’s security services were in contact with their Syrian counterparts regarding “terrorist organizations.”
Damascus did not comment on these statements officially. Instead, it met them with complete silence and did not produce any official statement denying or confirming what was issued by Ankara officials.
However, Cavusoglu’s comments in recent days have fueled major protests in northern and northwestern Syria, which is under the control of Turkish forces.
SDF suspends joint operations with international coalition
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the suspension of their participation in the fight against ISIS with the so-called “international coalition” led by Washington.
In cities and towns under Turkish control, demonstrations were protesting these statements, including al-Bab, Azaz, Sajo, Jarablus, al-Raai and Maraa in the countryside of Aleppo, Salqin, and Idleb. During these demonstrations, protesters burned the Turkish flag and raised slogans denouncing the statements of the Turkish regime’s foreign minister.
Meanwhile, the National Army stressed, in a statement, that the flag of the Turkish Republic is a source of pride and a title of victory. It pointed to the need to hold those who attacked the Turkish flag accountable!
Hamza militia commander, Saif Abu Bakr, tweeted: “The Turkish flag is sacred, and whoever attacks it will be held accountable.”
Ankara reassures protesters
In fear of escalation, Turkish interior minister Suleyman Soylu said that Ankara would not leave Syria to the regime or Kurdish-led forces.
“We have not and will not leave the people who are [reeling] from the oppression of the Syrian regime and the Kurdish units alone,” the interior minister said.
The Syrian Opposition
Syrian opposition figures have flared the social media websites with their postings and comments which denounced the Turkish move toward Assad.
The Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) said it had contacted many Turkish officials regarding the latest statements of the Turkish Foreign Minister. It pointed out that they all reaffirmed their full support for the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
In a press release issued on Friday, the SOC reaffirmed its commitment to a political solution, ridding the country of the murderous Assad regime, holding it accountable, and achieving the aspirations of the Syrian people. It also reaffirmed its commitment to the revolution’s principles and goals until the Assad regime’s overthrow.
“It is about time that the international community do justice to the Syrian people and push the political solution forward to ensure a genuine political transition and end the years-long political deadlock and human tragedy,” the SOC added.
SOC said that “the Syrian people chose the path of the revolution and clearly defined their goals 11 years ago. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives, and millions more were injured, detained and displaced in pursuit of freedom, dignity and justice, and to get rid of the murderous Assad regime.”
In the context of the repercussions of the statements of the Turkish regime’s foreign minister, the SDF suspended joint operations with the forces of the International Coalition, six days ago.
According to the sources, the suspension of joint operations came in protest against the targeting of the SDF areas by Turkish drones and the targeting of military leaders and civilian areas.
Damascus wants actions
The loyalist Al-Watan newspaper said the protests “revealed the panic that has afflicted Erdogan’s mercenaries because they sense a near change and a Syrian-Turkish rapprochement. ”
The newspaper said that Damascus “wants to test these words and link them to actions. Not every statement can be commented on by Damascus. This matter needs actions and commitments, and this is not announced by the media, but it needs complex work, especially since the issues between the two countries are complex; There is a Turkish occupation of Syrian territory, and it works with groups and mercenaries associated with it. ”
Al-Watan newspaper continued to celebrate Cavusoglu’s remarks, noting that they reflect Turkey’s urgent need for this roundabout for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to win next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
The head of Turkey’s opposition Future Party, Ahmet Davutoglu, commented on Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s statements regarding the need for reconciliation between the Syrian regime and the opposition.
Oglu, a former prime minister and foreign minister who also headed the ruling Justice and Development Party for a while, stressed the presence of at least one of three conditions. “If we remove the moral side of the issue” to hold formal talks with the regime, “either the regime has already started a process of reconciliation and peace inside the country, and this does not exist now,” or that “the regime has taken control of the entire territory of Syria and imposed itself by force, and this also does not exist,” or that “the regime has changed its official tone by dealing with Turkey and has begun a rapprochement with it, and this also does not exist.”
He added that he believes that “the recent positions and statements came after intense pressure from Russian President Putin after the recent Sochi summit. This pressure aims to give Assad legitimacy again.”