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Turkish FM Says Briefly Met with Syrian Counterpart in Belgrade

Turkish FM Says Briefly Met with Syrian Counterpart in Belgrade

Friday, 12 August, 2022 - 09:15
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey June 27, 2022. REUTERS/Cagla Gurdogan

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday that he had a “brief conversation” with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement meeting in October in Serbia's capital Belgrade.

Cavusoglu made the remarks on Thursday while addressing reporters on the last day of the 13th Ambassadors Conference that was held in Turkey’s capital Ankara.

He said Russian President Vladimir Putin has long suggested that Turkey communicates directly with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“There have been meetings between the intelligence services of the two countries for some time, and they have recently resumed and are tackling major issues.”

There is the regime and the opposition in Syria, the FM noted, adding that many people died and were displaced during the 11 years of war.

“No one can help in the reconstruction process without reaching a ceasefire,” he stressed, affirming that Turkey will intensify its efforts in this regard.

“We need to bring the opposition and regime together for reconciliation somehow, or there will be no permanent peace otherwise,” he told reporters.

Cavusoglu underscored the need for a strong will to prevent division in Syria, citing unity as the only mean to ensure the state’s control over the territory.

He ruled out the idea of a phone call between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Syrian counterpart anytime soon.

However, Turkiye Newspaper quoted well-informed sources on Tuesday as saying that a phone call may be held between the two leaders, based on a proposal raised by Putin during his meeting with Erdogan in Sochi last week.

Ahead of Friday’s Sochi Summit, Cavusoglu said Ankara was prepared to provide “unlimited political support” for the Syrian government to expel terrorists from northern Syria.

His remarks were in reference to the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara views as a terrorist group.

In May, Turkey announced that it would pursue a full-scale military campaign in northern Syria to complete the establishment of safe zones near its borders. The said zones would extend 30 kilometers deep in Syrian territory.

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