Türkiye reiterated that the “sole purpose” of its deployment in northern Syria is to secure its borders and fight terrorism to avert more human suffering.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar held telephone talks overnight on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu to discuss developments in Syria.
Akar stressed that Türkiye will continue to secure peace in the region and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid.
A Turkish Defense Ministry statement said the officials discussed the talks that had kicked off by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
The talks will “greatly help in paving the way for peace and stability in the region and Syria,” it added, underscoring the importance that they continue.
Days earlier, Akar had declared that Turkish military presence in Syria was aimed at combating terrorism and protecting Türkiye’s borders and Syria’s territorial integrity.
The deployment is not an occupation, he stressed.
Moreover, he added that Ankara was waiting on Damascus to acknowledge its position from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, the military backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which Türkiye views as an extension of the banned terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had demanded the withdrawal of Turkish forces from northern Syria as a condition to meeting Erdogan as part of Russian-sponsored efforts to normalize ties between Ankara and Damascus.
Soon after the talks between Akar and Shoigu, Turkish and Russian forces deployed on Thursday a joint patrol in Syria's al-Darbasiyah countryside north of al-Hasakeh province.