The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Erdogan Proceeding with Efforts to Normalize Ties with Assad, Prioritizes Refugee Return

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is ready to meet with head of the Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad if the appropriate conditions are met.  

Sources indicated that the recent meeting in Moscow between the defense ministers and heads of the intelligence services of Türkiye, Syria and Russia discussed a roadmap for normalizing relations between Ankara and Damascus.  

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said if the appropriate conditions were met, high-level officials would also meet, and there may be another at the presidential level.  

In an interview with the Turkish NTV news channel, Akar added that the Moscow meeting was “positive” and addressed Russian and Syrian views. 

“We expressed our security concerns regarding terrorist organizations in Syria.”  

Akar stressed that combating terrorism was the main goal, reiterating that Türkiye has no issues with any ethnic, religious, or sectarian group.  

Meanwhile, Haberturk reported that the Moscow meeting tackled four main issues. 

They addressed the safe and dignified return of refugees, the return of property to their owners upon arrival, ensuring fair trials, and completing constitutional amendments to hold free and fair elections, it quoted sources as saying. 

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stressed the need to ensure a safe return of Syrian refugees, noting that the Syrian regime wanted them to go back. 

Cavusoglu also stressed the importance of communicating with the Syrian regime to achieve lasting peace and stability. 

Speaking from the foreign ministry, he added it was also essential to involve the international community and the United Nations in the process of returning the refugees back to their homeland.  

The minister said the next step in the roadmap would be a meeting of the foreign ministers, but the timing has yet to be determined. 


The United States emphasized that it does not support any efforts to normalize relations with the Assad regime given its brutal and repressive history against the Syrian people.  

The regional spokesman for the US State Department, Samuel Werberg, said Washington was aware of the ongoing talks between the regime, Türkiye, and Russia and that US policy has not changed in this regard.  

Werberg stressed that the US continues to work with the United Nations and the international community to achieve a political solution in Syria under UN Security Council resolution 2254. 

Cavusoglu indicated that some countries welcomed the rapprochement between Türkiye and the Assad regime, while some supporters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), such as the US and European countries, do not welcome dialogue between Ankara and Damascus.  

Meanwhile, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) called for confronting what it described as the “trilateral alliance” and taking it down. 

The Salvation Government in northwestern Syria rejected and denounced the meeting, stressing that Türkiye’s conferences and consultations with the Damascus regime threatened the lives of millions of Syrian people.  

The government said the Turkish talks with the regime aimed to achieve progress in the refugee file ahead of upcoming elections in Türkiye and to pressure the SDF.



Source: Asharq Al-Awsat

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of the Observatory.