Syria, Turkey, Russia, Iran assistant foreign ministers meet in Moscow in new normalisation push
The talks, which are being held in Moscow, have seen the Syrian regime insist on conditions for restoring its relations with Turkey, pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan reported.
The Syrian Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Soussan met with the Special Representative of the Russian President and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and repeated demands for a Turkish military withdrawal from the country, according to Al-Watan.
The meeting between the four countries began on Tuesday at the Guest House of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Syrian state news agency SANA reported.
The Syrian representative is expected to demand a full withdrawal of Turkish troops from Syria, and “combatting terrorism”, in reference to the Turkish-backed rebel groups that control regions of northern Syria and oppose Damascus.
Turkey has launched several military operations in northern Syria against the Islamic State group and Kurdish militias. Its forces remain in many of these areas.
Syrian and Turkish representatives took part in Russia-mediated talks last year to discuss a possible reconciliation, after a rupture in ties in 2011 when the Assad regime brutally suppressed pro-democracy protests leading to an armed uprising.
Turkey has supported some rebel groups and hosted opposition leaders throughout the 12-year war.
Discussions between the Syrian regime and Turkey were met with strong opposition from Syrians in the Turkish-held north of the country, many of them displaced from other parts of Syria following brutal regime shelling and air strikes.
The meeting follows growing normalisation with the Assad regime in the region, as regime officials met with several Arab diplomats in recent months.