Russia Mediates Syrian-Turkish Security Meeting in Moscow
Government sources in Damascus said that Moscow hosted on Monday a trilateral security meeting for the heads of Turkish, Russian and Syrian intelligence.
Ali Mamluk, special security adviser to Syrian regime leader Bashar Assad met with Turkey's intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, Russian and Syrian news agencies reported on Monday.
Russia Today reported that during the meeting, the Syrians called on Ankara to fully respect the sovereignty of Syria, its independence and territorial integrity and ensure the immediate and full withdrawal of foreign forces from the whole Syrian territory.
The news agency added that the Syrians also allegedly demanded Ankara to honor the Sochi Agreement, signed on September 2018, which would entail “the freeing of Idlib from terrorists and heavy arms” as well as “unblocking the Aleppo-Latakia (M4) and Aleppo-Hama (M5) highways.”
Reuters reported that the two heads of intelligence met for the first time in years despite Ankara’s long-standing hostility to Assad.
US officials are meanwhile, seeking to convince European officials to replicate the Iranian scenario in Syria by following the policy of “maximum pressure” with Damascus.
This policy would use political, military and economic measures to push Moscow to exert pressure on the Syrian regime, which in return should present “substantial political concessions.”
Western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday that Washington already proposed 10 military, economic and political pressure tools to implement this policy.
Those tools include keeping the US military presence in northeast Syria and preventing Damascus from controlling oil and strategic resources.
The US is also advising Arab countries against any political or diplomatic normalization of ties with Syria and to refrain from investing in economic projects in the country, said the sources.
Washington is also trying to persuade several European countries to link any contribution in Syria’s reconstruction to making progress in the political process. It also advised them against reopening their embassies in Damascus.
The US should also impose sanctions on Damascus by quickly starting to implement the Caesar Act, which was recently approved by Congress and signed by US President Donald Trump.
The legislation sanctions the Syrian regime, including Assad, for war crimes against the Syrian population.