Syrian President Bashar al-Assad held a meeting with journalists and officials from his media institutions, where he discussed his regime’s foreign policy moving forward.
He emphasized the need to “deal pragmatically with international and regional transformations.” The meeting also touched on the future of normalization with the Turkish government, but Assad did not address the worsening economic and living conditions in the country.
Sources from the regime’s media stated that the journalists were warned not to ask questions about the ongoing economic crisis and difficult living conditions. The meeting was not officially reported on by the regime’s media, but Habib Salman, the Director General of the General Authority for Radio and Television, posted about it on Facebook. He talked about Bashar al-Assad’s meeting with 30 media professionals to talk about foreign policy. During the meeting, Assad discussed the importance of developing the media discourse in light of changes and developments, according to sources.
In the meeting, Assad also spoke about the new foreign policy, including relationships with Arab countries, Western sanctions, and the impact of the Ukrainian-Russian war on the entire region and Syria.
Has the regime changed its media rhetoric toward Turkey?
Following the tripartite meeting between Turkish, Russian, and Syrian defence ministers ( Hulusi Akar, Sergei Shoigu, and Ali Abbas, respectively )in Moscow on December 28, 2022, the media discourse in the regime’s semi-official media has seen some changes but remains unchanged in the official media. This was the first official and announced meeting since 2011.
The official statements from both the Syrian regime and Turkey expressed a degree of optimism but used cautious language. However, the Turkish side stressed the need to resolve the Syrian crisis, including all parties, in accordance with UN Resolution No. 2254.
Despite ongoing talks between the Syrian regime, Turkey, and Russia for full normalization of relations, the Syrian news agency SANA and official newspapers still refer to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as “the president of the Turkish regime.” The phrase “Turkish occupation” is also still used to refer to the Turkish military presence in northwestern Syria.
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.