Turkish defense minister warns Syrian rebels against "provocation" amid Ankara-Damascus thaw

Xinhua , Tuesday 10 Jan 2023

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Tuesday warned Syrian opposition groups against "provocations" amid ongoing protests over normalization talks between Ankara and Damascus.

 Hulusi Akar
File Photo: Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar speaks during a press conference. AFP


Akar pledged his country will not take any actions against the Syrian rebels, and urged them to remain calm and "act with this awareness," according to the semi-official Anadolu news agency.

The Turkish minister told reporters after a cabinet that the reconciliation efforts between the two neighboring countries were "in good faith" and aimed to improve bilateral times and promote regional peace.

"We hope that (the talks) develop through mutual negotiations and turn into a situation that will contribute to peace and stability for the region," Akar said.

Türkiye works to find a solution to the migration problem, he said, stressing the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland will be voluntarily in line with the decisions of the United Nations.

Syrian, Turkish, and Russian defense ministers, along with intelligence chiefs, met in Moscow on Dec. 28, 2022, marking the first high-level contact between Ankara and Damascus since the start of the Syrian conflict.

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he might meet his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad to foster peace and stability in the region.

The two leaders have not met since the outbreak of a civil war in Syria in 2011, as Türkiye has backed Syrian rebels politically and militarily during the 11-year crisis. Türkiye also hosts nearly 3.7 million refugees from Syria.

Syrian rebels fighting to topple al-Assad have been protesting the normalization talks between Ankara and Damascus.

Short link: