Former U.S. envoy to Syria James Jeffrey, who visited Ankara earlier this month, stressed that Turkey would achieve nothing from meeting with the Syrian regime.
In an interview on the Turkish channel NTV, Jeffrey spoke about the rapprochement between the Turkish government and the Syrian regime, including the [rumored] meeting with President Bashar al-Assad.
In response to the interviewer’s questions about the much-discussed Turkish-Syrian rapprochement, Jeffrey pointed out that Turkey is a sovereign state, which makes its military and diplomatic decisions to ensure peace, security and prosperity for itself. These obligations cover its decision to dialogue with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
However, Jeffrey explained that “all those who met Assad in the past got nothing from these meetings. We saw Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, which sent a delegation to meet Assad in 2018. They didn’t get anything from him. Indeed, all delegations that have met with Assad for negotiations failed to get anything from him.”
Jeffrey touched on Ankara’s many security concerns, including refugees in Turkey, as well as 4 million displaced people in the Idlib region. “There is the PKK, there is ISIS, there is Iran, and there is Assad,” Jeffrey said. “There are chemical weapons being used. These are all very complex issues that must be solved somehow.”
Jeffrey stressed that the Syrian regime must take steps to resolve the security concerns of Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and the United States for these countries to want to meet with it. He is “very skeptical,” however, that Assad genuinely intends to resolve these issues.
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.