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29 Dec, 2022 10:46

Turkish defense minister speaks on Syria after Moscow talks

Hulusi Akar met with his counterpart from Damascus on Wednesday to discuss ways to “ensure peace”
Turkish defense minister speaks on Syria after Moscow talks

Türkiye respects Syria's borders and does not have territorial claims on the neighboring state, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has stated. He also stressed that Ankara’s sole objective in the region is to defeat the groups it deems terrorist organizations. The comments were made following a meeting with his Syrian counterpart, Ali Mahmoud Abbas, on Wednesday in Moscow.

Akar’s press office quoted the minister as saying: “We emphasized that we respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty rights of all our neighbors, especially Syria and Iraq.” The Turkish official reiterated that Ankara seeks to “neutralize members of terrorist organizations” such as the Kurdish PKK, YPG, as well as ISIS.

Akar went on to say that the Turkish government is also aiming to “prevent further migration from Syria to Türkiye.

Our wish is for peace, tranquility, and stability to come to the region as soon as possible,” he added.

On Wednesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu hosted a meeting between his Turkish and Syrian counterparts in the Russian capital. This was the first time Ankara’s and Damascus’ military chiefs had held official negotiations since the Syrian civil war broke out 11 years ago.

According to Syrian state media outlet SANA, both sides found the format to be “constructive” and indicated willingness to continue dialogue.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan severed diplomatic relations with Syria in 2012. However, the foreign ministers of the two nations met in October 2021, revealing that Ankara’s and Damascus’ intelligence services had resumed communications.

The latest ministerial meeting on Wednesday came shortly after Türkiye revealed it had been in talks with Russia over the potential use of Syrian airspace for its military campaign against Kurdish militias in the neighboring country.

Ankara insists that Kurdish militants were behind a suicide bombing in Istanbul in mid-November, which killed six people and injured dozens more. Both the PKK and YPG deny any involvement in the attack.