Ankara calls the quadripartite security meeting 'constructive'
Today's security meeting between Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Russia marks the second round of talks on Syria that began last year at this level.
The meeting of the defense ministers of Turkey, Russia, Syria, and Iran in Moscow was held in a constructive atmosphere, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that the defense ministers of Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iran met in Moscow to discuss ways to strengthen security in Syria and normalize Syria-Turkey relations.
"Following the meeting, which took place in a constructive atmosphere, the importance of continuing meetings in a quadrilateral format for establishing and maintaining stability in Syria and the region as a whole was stressed," the Ministry said in a tweet.
The ministers discussed concrete steps to normalize Ankara-Damascus relations.
The Ministry added that during the meeting, the ministers discussed strengthening the security situation in Syria, concrete steps that can be taken to normalize relations between Turkey and Syria, the fight against terrorist organizations and extremist groups in all their forms on the territory of Syria, and the intensification of efforts to return Syrian refugees to their homeland.
Earlier on Tuesday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the head of Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Hakan Fidan, arrived in Moscow on Tuesday to participate in a quadripartite security meeting on the Syrian issue with Turkish, Russian, Syrian, and Iranian counterparts, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry.
Akar and Fidan were met at Vnukovo International Airport by Turkish Ambassador to Moscow Mehmet Samsar and Russian officials, according to the Ministry.
The Turkish defense chief is also planning to hold a number of bilateral meetings during his visit to Moscow, the Turkish Defense Ministry said.
Akar told state media on Monday that the upcoming round of talks would be focused on the progress made at the three-way meeting hosted by Moscow on December 28, 2022. He said the quartet was intent on restoring peace and security in the region.
The war on Syria was waged in 2011 in which the Syrian forces were fighting terrorist groups backed by Western and regional powers. Since 2016, the Turkish armed forces have been also conducting air and ground operations in Syria against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Damascus has repeatedly called the presence of Turkish forces on the Syrian border illegal and urged Ankara to withdraw its troops.
Before the meeting, both Syrian and Turkish officials discussed key points to discuss regarding Syrian and Turkish-Syrian relations.
The Syrian delegation had three essential points on its agenda:
- Ending the illegal Turkish presence on Syrian territory
- Non-interference in the Syrian internal affairs
- Combating terrorism in all its forms
The Turkish delegation had four main points to discuss on its agenda:
- Holding talks between the Syrian government with what he described as the "Syrian opposition"
- Ensuring the return of asylum seekers from Turkey to Syria
- Facilitating humanitarian aid to all Syrian areas
- Fighting against terrorism in the region