Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov proposed the development of a road map for normalizing relations between Syria and Turkey at the quadripartite meeting in Moscow on May 10, 2023, which was attended by the foreign ministers of Syria, Turkey, Russia, and Iran. Lavrov suggested that the road map be prepared by experts and submitted to the heads of state after the next ministerial meeting. The road map should clearly define Syria and Turkey’s priorities, including restoring the Syrian government’s control over all lands, securing the common border, preventing cross-border attacks and terrorism, and facilitating the safe return of Syrian refugees.
Lavrov also addressed the American presence in Syria and alleged the formation of the Free Syrian Army with the participation of ISIS militants and other terrorist organizations. The Iranian Foreign Minister emphasized the progress made in the political process to resolve outstanding issues in Syria, and that Iran and Russia facilitated a diplomatic settlement of the Syrian issue.
Earlier, a bilateral meeting took place between the Syrian and Iranian foreign ministers, where Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Al-Miqdad emphasized that the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syrian lands is a condition for normalizing relations with Turkey. The Syrian-Turkish path of rapprochement began with a meeting of the defense ministers of Syria, Russia, and Turkey on December 28, followed by a meeting of deputy foreign ministers of Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Russia, and another meeting of the defence ministers of the four countries on April 24. Positive results were achieved on the military level, including discussions on the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syrian territory and the implementation of the M4 road agreement. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar confirmed the establishment of a military coordination center in Syria with the participation of Turkey, Russia, Syria, and Iran.
During a quadripartite meeting in Moscow with Russia, Iran, and Turkey, Dr. Faisal al-Mekdad, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, emphasized that ending the illegal military presence on Syrian territory, including Turkish forces, is Syria’s top priority. He stated that progress in this matter is crucial for achieving real results. Mekdad expressed his gratitude for the efforts made by Russia and Iran to facilitate the meeting and declared that Syria is willing to engage in open and constructive dialogue, provided that its sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and non-interference in its internal affairs are respected.
Mekdad highlighted the shared interests and objectives of Syria and Turkey and noted the potential for cooperation with the assistance of Russia and Iran. He affirmed that future relations with other countries must prioritize Syrian national interests and rights, which cannot be compromised. The Minister clarified that ending the illegal military presence on Syrian territory, including Turkish forces, is Syria’s primary objective. He expressed his hope that Turkey will publicly acknowledge its willingness to withdraw its forces from Syria and work towards implementing a coordinated and agreed-upon plan.
Mekdad proposed several principles, including a commitment to Syria’s sovereignty and unity, combating terrorism, and rejecting separatist projects. He suggested joint action and cooperation to confront separatist organizations in northeastern Syria, address security concerns along the borders, and facilitate the safe return of Syrian refugees from Turkey. Mekdad also emphasized the need for cooperation to prevent the illegal seizure and transfer of Syrian oil and its revenues.
The Minister concluded by stressing that all previous ideas and points are consistent with international law and the Charter of the United Nations, as well as with the final statements issued by the Astana meetings. He reiterated that these practical aspects and requirements are necessary to improve relations between Syria and Turkey and satisfy their mutual interests.
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.