The quadripartite meeting will take place in Moscow on Tuesday, bringing together the deputy foreign ministers of the Syrian regime, Russia, Iran, and Turkey. However, the meeting’s chances of success are diminishing due to the Syrian regime’s insistence on conditions to normalize political relations with Ankara.
According to diplomatic sources close to the Syrian regime, the meeting will commence in the presence of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The regime insists on obtaining guarantees of a Turkish withdrawal from Syrian territory and stopping support “for terrorism”. Meanwhile, the Turkish side seeks to maximize the meeting’s electoral investment.
The sources point out that there has been no public statement or confirmation from Turkey so far about its willingness to engage in talks based on these constants. If Turkey refuses to engage in talks on these bases and pledges to withdraw from Syrian territory, the meeting will not yield any results that could lead to the next political and security step.
The Syrian regime wants documented guarantees through a statement that obliges all parties to implement it, as reaching such a statement paves the way for the next political step represented by the meeting of foreign ministers.
On the eve of the quadripartite meeting, the Syrian regime affirmed its adherence to its conditions, including the need to end the Turkish presence in Syrian territories, not to interfere in internal affairs, and to stop supporting the Syrian opposition.
Preliminary bilateral meetings took place on Monday between the participating delegations, where consultation and coordination took place between the Syrian regime and the Russian delegation, as well as with Ali Asghar Khaji, Senior Assistant to the Iranian Foreign Minister for Special Political Affairs.
The Turkish ambassador also met with the Syrian regime’s ambassador on Monday at the headquarters of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow.
In related news, the Agence France Press reported that the Russian Foreign Minister would begin a two-day visit to Turkey next Thursday following the quadripartite meeting of the deputy foreign ministers of Turkey, Russia, Iran, and the Syrian regime.
The Head of the Syrian delegation, Ayman Sousan, has said that Turkey’s announcement that it will withdraw its forces from all Syrian lands will “re-establish communication between the two sides” but that the restoration of the situation in the northeast and northwest of Syria requires certain conditions to be met, including preserving Syria’s sovereignty and unity and restoring the Syrian state’s control over all its territory. Sousan added that the existence of any terrorist threat requires cooperation and coordination with the concerned country, and there are no international legal provisions that give any country the right to intervene militarily in another country’s territory without consent. Sousan also thanked Russia and Iran for their valuable assistance in confronting terrorism.
Sana has published an account of Sousan’s remarks. We republish the remarks as published:
Head of the Syrian delegation, Assistant Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Dr. Ayman Sousan , affirmed that Turkey’s formal and unequivocal announcement that it will withdraw its forces from all Syrian lands, and to start withdrawal from these lands, is “the gateway to re-establish communication between the two sides,” stressing that restoring the situation in the northeast and northwest of Syria to what it used to require conditions can be realized by preserving Syria’s sovereignty and unity, withdrawing of illegal forces, combating terrorism, and restoring of the Syrian state’s control over all its territory.
Sousan noted in a speech before the quadripartite meeting of the assistant foreign ministers of Syria, Russia, Iran and Turkey, which will be held in the Russian capital, Moscow, that Syria has been subjected to an unprecedented terrorist war during the past 12 years, with full and unlimited planning and support from some Western, regional and Arab countries, where the foreign terrorists came from more than 100 states, according to UN reports. “Unfortunately, this was through neighbouring countries,” he added.
“We thank the Russian and Iranian friends for their valuable assistance to Syria in confronting terrorism, and we appreciate their supportive position throughout these years, but on the other hand, we cannot overlook the fact that other countries have taken a different path, as they took advantage of the situation created by this war to illegally send their forces to Syria and be present on its territory without any invitation or coordination with the legitimate government, not to mention their support to terrorist groups in Syria.”, Sousan said.
Military presence on Syrian territory “violates the international law”
Sousan added that the legal description of the illegitimate military presence on Syrian territory, whether in the northeast or northwest of Syria and by whoever is very clear, as this presence violates the provisions of international law and violates principles of the UN Charter, as well as contradicts good-neighbourly relations and the principles regulating peaceful relations between states and all Security Council resolutions related to Syria.
Sousan pointed out that there are no international legal provisions that give the right to any country to violate the sovereignty of other countries or to intervene militarily in their territories without the consent of the concerned country, under any pretext, including combating terrorism.
The existence of any terrorist threat requires practical and legal cooperation and coordination with the concerned country to confront that, and Syria has repeatedly expressed its readiness for such cooperation as long as it takes place within the framework of respecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Sousan noted.
Sousan stressed that Syria does not look back as much as it looks forward, and it is with dialogue and building bridges of communication with all countries, even those that had negative roles during the years of the crisis, based on its national principles and based on its concern for the interests of the Syrian people and its quest to realize security and stability in this volatile region, establishing the best relations with neighbouring countries to serve the interests of their peoples.
“This, of course, includes Turkey, with which a long common border brings us together, as the earthquake incident that struck Syria and Turkey on the last February 6th affirmed that politics cannot ignore the facts of history, geography, common interests, the strong bond between the two friendly peoples.
Syria dealt positively with the efforts of the Russian and Iranian friends aimed at restoring communication between Syria and Turkey
Sousan affirmed that Syria dealt positively and openly with the efforts of the Russian and Iranian friends aimed at restoring communication between Syria and Turkey, but reaching this goal has objective conditions and requirements that must be met, and there must be a real will and serious dialogue to reach that, as it is clear that the first of these conditions and requirements is the full adherence to Syria’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity, and that this fundamental principle should be put into practice immediately.
Sousan noted that this principle remains meaningless if it is not translated and embodied by starting the withdrawal of all illegal foreign forces from Syrian territory, including Turkish forces, and not obstructing the efforts of the Syrian state to re-establish its authority over all its territory, including terrorist-held areas, the stop of interfering in Syria’s internal affairs and providing support and protection to terrorist groups there, especially in Idleb, which has become a base and protectorate for terrorists on Syrian territory, which threatens security and stability and endangers the lives of civilians there.
Sousan said that Turkey did not even abide by the understandings reached within the framework of Astana or those with the Russian side.
Sousan pointed out Syria’s readiness to coordinate with Russian and Iranian friends and with the Turkish side on the various practical aspects related to the withdrawal of its forces from Syrian territory, including the entry of the Syrian Arab Army forces into the areas from which these forces will withdraw to ensure that this process is completed smoothly and that the terrorist groups do not gain control.
Fighting terrorism in all its forms is a common interest of all
Sousan noted that combating terrorism in all its forms until eradicating it represents a common interest for all, whether this terrorism is represented by “Daesh” , “Jabhat al-Nusra” and other organizations or The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the organizations and groups linked to it.
Sousan added that this will open the door for coordination and joint action to confront separatist plans and entities in northeastern Syria, as well as address related joint security problems, including working to control common borders and taking joint measures to prevent smuggling and the infiltration of terrorists across them.
Border control between neighbouring countries is a joint responsibility
The responsibility for controlling borders between neighbouring countries is a joint responsibility, and it is carried out with cooperation, not through unilateral, intrusive or illegal measures, as combating terrorism is not selective either, Sousan stated.
Sousan Pointed out that within the framework of the aforementioned points, it is possible to cooperate on the issue of the return of Syrian refugees from Turkey to their original places of residence in Syria, and this matter requires work to provide the necessary requirements and environment for that, including realizing security and stability by extending the state’s authority over its territory and preparing the necessary infrastructure and financing. The Syrian side is ready to take the measures that fall upon it accordingly, he stressed.