Baghdad mediates between Ankara, Damascus for possible reconciliation: report

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani has announced that his government is actively mediating reconciliation efforts between Turkey and Syria, the Al-Monitor news website reported.

In an interview released on Friday, Sudani revealed ongoing communications with both Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“God willing, we will see some steps in this regard soon,” Sudani told Turkish broadcaster Habertürk via a translator. He emphasized that Iraq is working towards fostering dialogue and reconciliation between the two nations, drawing parallels to Iraq’s role in facilitating the normalization deal between Tehran and Riyadh.
Turkey has supported armed Syrian opposition groups aiming to oust Assad since the start of the Syrian civil war. However, Erdogan said in 2022 that removing Assad was no longer a priority for Turkey. Despite high-level talks between Ankara and Damascus brokered by Russia the same year, no significant progress was made.
Sudani highlighted Iraq’s previous success in hosting talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, leading to a landmark diplomatic deal brokered by China in 2023. He expressed hopes of achieving a similar foundation for Syria and Turkey.
Sudani’s comments follow his historic visit to Damascus last July, marking the first visit by an Iraqi prime minister to Syria in 13 years. This also comes after Erdogan’s visit to Baghdad in April, the first such visit in over a decade. Additionally, earlier this month, Sudani discussed security issues with Syrian Interior Minister Muhammad al-Rahmoun in Baghdad.
During the interview, Sudani said security threats to both Iraq and Syria emanated from regions not controlled by the Syrian government. Turkey’s primary security concern is the US-allied Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which Ankara associates with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK has conducted an armed campaign for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984 and is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey and its Western allies.
Iraq designated the PKK as a terrorist organization in April, fulfilling a long-standing Turkish demand. Turkish forces maintain over 100 outposts in northern Iraq as part of their operations against the PKK.
The SDF, allied with the US-led coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), remains a contentious issue. Turkey failed to persuade Washington to end its alliance with the SDF. In tandem with this, Ankara moved closer to Russia and Iran, Assad’s primary supporters.
The 2022 talks involving Turkish, Syrian and Russian officials aimed to dismantle the Kurdish-led autonomous administration in northern Syria but stalled due to Damascus’ demand for Turkish troop withdrawal from Syrian territory. Turkey and its allied opposition groups control significant areas in northern Syria. The Turkish military has launched multiple incursions into Syria from 2016 to 2020, targeting both the SDF and ISIL, and continues to conduct airstrikes in SDF-held regions.

News Code 159593

Your Comment

You are replying to: .