Russia Attempts Turkey-Syria Normalization In Moscow Summit
Russia is continuing efforts to stabilize Syria and push American influence in the region to the sidelines, as on Tuesday Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu hosted four-way talks which have as their goal the normalization of ties between the Syrian and Turkish governments. The talks involve Russia, Syria, Turkey and Iran. The end result could see American forces squeezed out of Syria.
“Practical steps were discussed in the field of strengthening security in the Syrian Arab Republic and normalizing Syrian-Turkish relations,” the Russian Defense Ministry stated. This is based on a common perspective that all parties desire win “the fight against all extremist groups in Syria.”
The Turkish defense ministry positively acknowledged the “constructive atmosphere” of the meeting in which “the issue of intensifying efforts to return Syrian refugees to their lands” was examined. All representatives “reaffirmed their respect for Syria’s territorial integrity,” the Turkish ministry said.
For Syria, high on the agenda is precisely protection of its sovereignty and food and energy resources. Going back multiple years, the United States and its Kurdish-led proxy, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), have occupied a huge chuck of oil-and-gas rich northeast Syria, as well as Tanf garrison on the Iraq-Syria border. The US has been widely accused of stealing Syrian oil, ferrying it across the Iraq border, but at the same time the Pentagon says it’s there to fight ISIS.
Turkish forces have also occupied territory within the Syria’s northern border, and aim to fight Syrian Kurdish groups. Crucially, if Damascus and Ankara strike a deal, this is expected to be key in eventually squeezing out the US occupation. This is also of course what Russia wants to see as well.
The US-backed SDF has long come under Turkish threat, a threat which would be amplified if suddenly Syria, Turkey and Russia got on the same page.
Already, US bases have come under sporadic rocket and drone attack over the past several months, which recently led to the death of an American contractor, with US troops suffering injuries.
Defense Ministers of Russia, Iran, Syria and Turkey are meeting in Moscow to discuss strengthening of security in Syria and building close ties between Turkey and Syria.
This follows the meeting by Foreign Ministers of the four countries earlier this month. pic.twitter.com/FlvS0M7Ia3
— Sentletse 🇷🇺🇿🇦 (@Sentletse) April 25, 2023
Helping the prospect of peace between Damascus and Turkey is the fact that Arab states are rushing back to Assad to reestablish ties, even Saudi Arabia. If Syria is invited back into the Arab League, which Washington vehemently opposes, this would do much in terms of diplomatic normalization with other regional nations as well, such as Turkey and Jordan.
Any diplomatic breakthrough would also be a huge reputational ‘win’ for Russia at a moment it remains isolated by the West due to the ongoing Ukraine war.
Wed, 04/26/2023 – 02:45