Delegations from Syria, Iran and Türkiye met in Moscow with their counterparts this week to discuss the normalization of ties between Türkiye and Syria. It’s the prelude to a higher-level meeting that will take place later this month.
Improved cooperation would be particularly important in bringing a close to the ongoing Syrian conflict, as Ankara and Damascus share a long border and frozen relations since the beginning of the war.
Syrian officials had said their delegates would focus on ending Türkiye’s military presence in their country, cooperating in fighting against terrorism, and non-interference in Syria’s internal affairs by other countries. The meeting is the latest in a series of steps, heavily backed by Moscow, towards reconciliation between Ankara and Damascus after an 11-year break in relations. Similarly, these negotiations follow a reconciliation between perennial regional adversaries Iran and Saudi Arabia recently brokered by China.
For Syria, Damascus wants to reclaim its territory held by Kurdish-backed forces in the country’s north and northeastern sectors. They also don’t want the potential for a Turkish invasion of their country in case the security situation becomes delicate. For its part, Türkiye is concerned with the presence of the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG), which Ankara associates with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).