The Syrian and Turkish defence ministers on Wednesday met in Moscow amid Turkey’s preparation for a ground operation to northern Syria, reported Russian News Agency.
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on the 15 December that intelligence organisations, then ministers, and foreign ministers should respectively come together to have a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “As of now, we wish to take a step as a Syria-Turkey-Russia trio,” Erdoğan told journalists.
Following these statements, Hulusi Akar, Turkey’s National Defence Minister and Hakan Fidan chief of National Intelligence Service (MIT), met with Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu and Syrian Defence Minister Ali Mahmoud Abbas.
Russian Defence Ministry said the sides hailed the constructive nature of the dialogue in this format.
“Trilateral talks between the defense ministers of the Russian Federation, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Republic of Turkey were held in Moscow. They focused on solutions to the Syria crisis, the refugee issue, and joint efforts to battle extremist groups on Syrian territory,”; TASS (Russian news agency), cited the statement of the Russian Defense Ministry.
Accusing Kurdish forces in North and East Syria of causing a deadly explosion that hit Istanbul on the 13th November, Turkey started airstrikes on Kurdish targets in northern Syria on the 20 November.
Turkish officials repeatedly state Turkey has been continuously working on plans for a ground operation into northern Syria, both on the ground and round the table.
Political commentator Kevork Almassian claimed that Erdoğan needs Assad’s support more than ever, as he faces an upcoming election expected to be dominated by issues related to terrorism, demographics, and Syrian refugees.