Tehran and Moscow Announce Support for Damascus-Ankara Rapprochement Within “Quartet” Framework

Diplomatic sources in Ankara confirmed to Al-Watan that Moscow is trying to arrange a meeting between the Syrian and Turkish foreign ministers.

Russian mediation, alongside Iran, has been active in recent days to bring the views between Damascus and Ankara closer. The mediation’s aim has been to expedite diplomatic talks between the two countries, noting that there is a scheduled date in mid-2023 for security talks, which may be accompanied by a meeting between the two countries’ defence ministers.

Diplomatic sources in Ankara confirmed to Al-Watan that there had been remarkable activity and shuttle diplomacy in Moscow to arrange a meeting between the Syrian and Turkish foreign ministers. However, the success of such efforts will depend on Ankara taking the steps needed before any diplomatic meeting between the two foreign ministers.

The source said that Moscow and Tehran are rushing to arrange this meeting. At the same time, however, Russia understands Syria’s position on calling for Turkish steps before any development in relations.

The source, who preferred not to be identified, pointed out that Moscow considers that the meeting of the Syrian and Turkish foreign ministers has been delayed; however, holding the meeting in the coming days and weeks ahead of the upcoming Turkish presidential elections is necessary. This is because Moscow and Tehran, which both support Erdogan, see Turkish-Syrian reconciliation as an opportunity for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to gain political ground over the opposition.

The source indicated that Moscow, an ally of Damascus, believes that any Syrian-Turkish rapprochement may also be in Syria’s interest at the current point in time. They noted that the success of Moscow and Tehran in their endeavours in this context might lead to the acceleration of events, which will later mean working in parallel between the security and political tracks.

This information revealed to Al-Watan’s sources tallied with the Russian Foreign Ministry’s announcement on Wednesday of consultations between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister Ali Asghar Haji.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister discussed the two countries’ contributions to establishing a dialogue between Syria and Turkey.

The ministry noted that views were exchanged between the two sides on topical issues in the Middle East and resolving the situation in Syria.

For its part, the Iranian Mehr news agency quoted the talks as saying that Khaji and Bogdanov stressed that Iranian-Russian support exists for the negotiations between Syria and Turkey.

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