Deputy Foreign Ministers of Syria and Turkey to Meet in Moscow

The deputy FMs of Iran and Russia will also attend the meeting that will work toward Syria-Turkey normalization

The deputy foreign ministers of Syria, Turkey, Russia, and Iran will meet in Moscow in April as part of an effort to normalize ties between Damascus and Ankara, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

An unnamed senior Turkish official told Reuters that the meeting will be held from April 3-4. “This meeting is expected to be a continuation of the ministerial-level meetings that began during the normalization process,” the official said.

The official added that “significant decisions” are not expected because the meeting is being held on the deputy level. The talks will build on a meeting between Syria and Turkey’s defense ministers that was hosted by Russia in December 2022, marking the first time the two countries held talks at that level since 2011.

A normalization deal between Syria and Turkey would be a huge breakthrough as Ankara was a major supporter of the failed regime change effort against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey still occupies areas in northern Syria, and Assad has told Russia that any deal must involve a Turkish withdrawal.

More and more regional countries are accepting that Assad isn’t going anywhere and are upgrading their ties with Damascus. Reuters reported last week that Saudi Arabia and Syria have agreed to establish ties and reopen their embassies, steps that could happen after Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday that will be celebrated on April 21 and April 22.

The US is opposed to any countries upgrading ties with the Assad government and reaffirmed the position in response to the news of a potential Syria-Saudi normalization. “Our stance against normalization remains unchanged.¬†We will not normalize with the Assad regime, nor will we encourage others absent authentic and enduring progress toward a political solution,” a State Department spokesperson told Antiwar.com in an email.

The US maintains crippling economic sanctions on Syria and keeps about 900 troops in the country. The US also backs the Kurdish led-SDF, allowing it to control about one-third of Syria’s territory, an area where most of the country’s oil and wheat resources are located.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.