Syrian regime close for cooperation with Türkiye: Defense Minister

Syrian regime close for cooperation with Türkiye: Defense Minister

Syrian regime close for cooperation with Türkiye: Defense Minister

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said there are positive signs that the Syrian regime can cooperate with Türkiye for the return of 3.6 million Syrian refugees to their homeland, as well as on security matters, amid an ongoing normalization process with the mediation of Russia and Iran.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, in a televised interview over the weekend, provided information about his last encounter with the Syrian Defense Minister Ali Mahmoud Abbas in Moscow with the participation of their Russian and Iranian counterparts as well as the heads of four countries’ intelligence chiefs.

“We came together with the Syrian defense minister for the first time after 11 years. It was an important meeting. Dialogue is the key. Both sides acknowledge this. It is, of course, not possible to resolve everything at once,” Akar said.

Akar stated he told his counterparts that Türkiye’s main objective is to fight against terror on its borders and protect the lives of millions of its citizens.

“Naturally, the parties may have maximalist demands but we are trying to turn them into reasonable ones. What will be the outcome of our withdrawal from the western Euphrates? Currently, one-third of Syria is under the control of terror organizations,” he said, referring to Damascus’ calls for the complete withdrawal of the Turkish troops from Syria.

“We tell the regime that we have no oppositional stance against them. Our sole concern is to fight terrorists,” the minister said.

Return of Syrians

Another issue is the return of Syrians to their homeland, Akar explained. “Those who came to Türkiye fled from the regime’s pressure. If they will return home, it should be voluntary, safe and with dignity. Therefore, the regime must provide this,” he said.

Underlining that Damascus is aware of this and issued amnesty several times for the dissidents, the minister said, “The regime’s stance is pretty objective. In the end, they will return to their home. What is important is that they are given assurances so that they can go back home in a comfortable way. We can say that the regime is close to cooperation. Agreements have been reached on some points.”

Military operations to continue

On a question about Russia’s continued dialogue with the YPG in northern Syria, Akar said it is up to Moscow, but Ankara reiterates that this organization is no different from the PKK.

Türkiye had signed separate deals with Russia and the United States in 2019 for the creation of a 30-kilometer depth security zone in northern Syria following its Operation Peace Spring, Akar recalled.

“There is a sensitive balance there. We tell our demands and ask them [Russia and the U.S.] to take measures. We continue our military operations against the terrorists in Syria and Iraq. We are committed to taking all sorts of measures,” he noted.

The terrorists are being supported by some countries Akar repeated, saying, “We tell these countries, ‘Whatever you supply to them, this organization is coming to an end.’ We will always say this and won’t allow this organization [the YPG] to create a threat against us.”