The Russian and Turkish governments have released conflicting statements regarding the scheduled date of the quadripartite ministerial meeting on Syria, which is set to include representatives from Turkey, Iran, the Syrian regime, and Russia. Originally planned for April 10, the meeting’s timing remains uncertain.
Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian president’s special envoy to the Middle East and African countries, has confirmed that the exact date for the quadripartite meeting has not been determined. He added that his Turkish colleagues have not provided a final answer, implying that Turkey is the party responsible for the delay. On the other hand, the Turkish foreign minister suggested that the meeting may take place in early May.
According to unnamed sources cited by Syria TV, the Syrian regime has not responded to Turkey’s calls for progress towards a political resolution.
Reportedly, Ankara views the regime’s insistence on the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syrian soil as an attempt to sidestep political obligations. Instead, Turkey is advocating for the revival of the Constitutional Committee’s path as a means to eventually hold general elections. These claims were also attributed to the same sources.
Sources claim that the Syrian regime has been uncompromising in talks since the security and military meeting it had with Turkey in Moscow at the end of 2022. The regime demands a clear answer regarding the withdrawal date of Turkish forces, while Ankara links its withdrawal to achieving sustainable stability.
Therefore, both tracks, combating terrorism and advancing the political process, must be discussed in order to attain the desired stability.
In his recent visit to Ankara, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attempted to persuade the Turkish side to proceed with the ministerial meeting and finalize the talks, even though technical committees failed to arrive at a clear vision for discussing a political resolution. Moscow aims to complete the normalization of relations and resolve contentious issues.
Sources familiar with the Syrian regime’s inner workings have reportedly cited Iran’s negative role in obstructing a consensus between Ankara and Damascus, according to Syria TV.
The sources highlighted that Iran is urging the Syrian regime to take a firm stance on the withdrawal of Turkish forces, while Russia does not share this position. The sources suggested that Iran is uneasy with the prospect of normalizing relations between Turkey and the Syrian regime, given Turkey’s significant military presence on Syrian soil.
Despite the significant differences in perspectives, there is a high probability of the ministerial meeting being held in May, especially considering the upcoming Turkish presidential elections on the 14th of the same month. This possibility was highlighted in a report by opposition television.
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.