Mekdad: Turkey should end its occupation of Syrian territories

 Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has said that Turkey should show “absolute positiveness,” mainly by ending its occupation of Syrian territories, in order to restore its relations with Syria.

Mekdad made the remarks at a joint press conference with his visiting Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in the Syrian capital of Damascus following Amir-Abdollahian’s meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We urge the other concerned parties to practice absolute positiveness in this regard because the talks cannot succeed in having normal relations without ending the occupation, ending terrorism, and restoring the relations to the previous fundamentals before the crises,” Mekdad told reporters when asked about the current talks between Syria and Türkiye.

Mekdad said that the relations between Syria and Turkey were normal before the eruption of the Syrian crisis in 2011, noting the Syrian side is exerting all efforts to end terrorism which “led to disrupting the ties with Turkey.”

Mekdad added that the possibility of a meeting between leaders of Syria and Turkey relies on removing the elements that led to the current situation, including ending the Turkish occupation of Syrian areas and halting the Turkish support to the rebel groups in northern Syria.

For his part, Amir-Abdollahian said that Iran fully supports Syria’s stances and decisions, deeming any dialogue between Syria and Turkey as a positive step for both countries and the entire region.

In Dec. 2022, defense ministers of Russia, Syria and Turkey discussed in Moscow solutions to the Syrian crisis, the issue of refugees, and collective efforts aimed at combatting extremist groups in Syria.

The meeting was the first publicly announced encounter between officials of Syria and Turkey since the Syrian crisis started in 2011. ■

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