Turkey, Syria, Russia defence ministers hold talks in Moscow

December 29, 2022 8:05 am

The three nations agree to continue meeting in future to ensure stability in Syria and the region, Turkish defence ministry says.

Defence ministers of Russia, Turkey and Syria have held talks in Moscow in a clear sign of normalisation between Ankara and Damascus in the decade-long Syrian war.

Turkish defence minister Hulusi Akar and the head of its National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), Hakan Fidan, met Syrian defence minister Ali Mahmoud Abbas and Syrian intelligence chief Ali Mamlouk in Moscow along with Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu, the Turkish defence ministry said on Wednesday.

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“Ways of resolving the Syrian crisis and the problem of refugees as well as joint efforts to combat extremist groups in Syria have been discussed,” RIA news agency said, citing the Russian defence ministry.

“Syrian crisis, refugee issue and efforts of joint fight against all terror organisations on Syrian soil were discussed in the constructive meeting,” the ministry’s statement said on Wednesday.

“Turkish, Russian and Syrian defence ministers as well as intelligence chiefs in Moscow have agreed to continue tripartite meetings to ensure stability in Syria and in the region as a whole,” it added.

Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu said the meeting was important because the Turkish and Syrian ministers held talks for the first time in 11 years.

“We hear Turkish officials saying that it is time for normalisation of ties with Syria,” she said, adding that the two countries were already holding talks at the intelligence levels.

Koseoglu said there were still major differences between Ankara and Damascus over the Syrian issue.

“We know that Damascus wants the Turkish military presence out of their borders,” she said.

“We are also hearing that the Turkish defence minister asked for safe and honorary return of Syrian refugees,” she added.