Despite being keen on resuming talks with the Syrian Government, Turkish Defence Minister, Yasar Guler said that the country would not withdraw troops from Syria, reports The Cradle, October 1.
Syria has previously called on a withdrawal of Turkish troops from the country.
Turkey has troops based in the country’s Northern part since the breakout of the ongoing Syrian Civil War in 2011. The same year Turkey condemned long-serving Syrian ruler, Bashar al-Assad over his violent crackdown on demonstrations.
The two countries had previously had positive relations from 2000 – when Assad became President – to 2010.
Turkey’s Defence Minister claimed that the country is, “ready to resume talks with Syria, with the participation of Russia and Iran, as part of the normalisation of relations between Ankara and Damascus.
In December 2022, the Defence Ministers of the respective countries met in Moscow for the first time since the beginning of the war.
Alongside Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence official, Turkey and Syria’s Defence Ministers discussed, “ways to resolve the Syrian crisis, the problem of refugees, and joint efforts to combat extremist groups in Syria,”.
Russia also has a major part to play in Syria, supporting the Damascus regime against its opponents whilst Ankara backs rebels.
December’s peace talks achieved little due to Turkey’s continuous refusal to withdraw troops as well as Syria calling on Ankara to stop backing the extremist Syrian National Army (SNA) amongst other unsavoury groups.
Offering a justification for the maintaining of troops in the country, Turkey accused Syria of being incapable of fully defending its border with the West Asian nation.
Syrians residing in Turkey have become alarmed at what the future holds for them as both sides of the divide recently vowed to taking a more hostile approach towards immigration.