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Middle East

Moscow Hosts Summit – Attempts To Normalize Relations Between Turkey And Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with Russian President Vladimir Putin

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On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu hosted 4-way talks in an effort to normalize diplomatic relations between the Syrian and Turkish governments in an effort to bring stability to Syria and also to oust American influence in the country. The talks included Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iran and could be a means to force U.S. troops out of Syria.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, “Practical steps were discussed in the field of strengthening security in the Syrian Arab Republic and normalizing Syrian-Turkish relations,” as all parties involved desire to win “the fight against all extremist groups in Syria.”

The Turkish Defense Ministry confirmed the “positive atmosphere” of the meeting during which “the issue of intensifying efforts to return Syrian refugees to their lands” was discussed. All delegates “reaffirmed their respect for Syria’s territorial integrity,” the Turkish Ministry added.

Among Syria’s top priorities for the talks was the protection of its sovereignty and energy and food resources given that for several years, the majority of the country’s northeastern region, which is rich with oil and gas resources, has been under U.S. its Kurdish proxy, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) occupation. While the Pentagon has always claimed that the U.S. is in the region to fight against ISIS, Washington has long been accused of stealing oil and gas resources from Syria and transporting it across the Iraq border.

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Turkish forces have also occupied portions of northern Syria along the border to fight Syrian Kurdish groups. If Moscow’s talks are successful between Turkey and Syria, it could be key in ending the U.S. occupation of the northeastern region of the country – something Russia would like to see happen.

In recent months, U.S. occupation bases have come under sporadic rocket fire and drone attacks, one of which recently killed an American contractor and wounded U.S. troops.

One of the major factors pushing the talks forward is the recent acceptance of Assad back into many Arab states and the re-establishing of ties between Syria and many countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia. Should Damascus be accepted back into the Arab League, it would likely lead to normalized relations between additional countries like Turkey and Jordan as well. The U.S., however, strongly opposes the Arab world so easily welcoming Assad back into the fold.

If Russia is able to broker the normalization of relations between Damascus and Ankara in the coming months, it would be a ‘win’ of sorts for Moscow at a time when it has been strongly isolated by the West due to its ongoing war with Ukraine.

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