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Syria's deputy FM urges immediate withdrawal of Turkish forces, non-interference in domestic affairs

In this file picture, a Syrian boy watches as Turkish military vehicles, part of a US military convoy, take part in a joint patrol in the Syrian village of Hashisha on the outskirts of Tell Abyad town along the border with Turkey. (Photo by AFP)

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Ayman Sousan has reiterated the Damascus government’s calls for Turkey to immediately withdraw its forces from the northern regions of the Arab country, and non-interference in Syria's internal affairs by other countries.

Sousan made the remarks in a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and African countries Mikhail Bogdanov in Moscow on Monday.

The senior Syrian official stressed the need for Turkish military forces to quickly pull out of the Syrian soil, non-interference in the domestic affairs of the country as well as practical measures in order to counter all forms of terrorism.

Bogdanov, for his part, underscored Russia’s determination to continue efforts aimed at protection of Syria’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

The two sides also exchanged viewpoints on coordination of quadrilateral talks aimed at normalizing relations between Syria and Turkey.

Last Monday, Bogdanov said a quadrilateral meeting to be attended by the deputy foreign ministers of Russia, Iran, Turkey and Syria will be held in Moscow soon as a major step to help normalize ties between Ankara and Damascus.

“We are getting ready (for a meeting). I think it will be held soon. We are hoping,” Bogdanov told Russia’s TASS news agency, adding, “We are hoping that our mediating mission, which is directed at a very important strategic goal – the normalization of Syrian-Turkish relations – will result in our shared success.”

Turkey severed its relations with Syria in March 2012, a year after the Arab country found itself in the grip of deadly violence waged by foreign-backed militants.

Now, after 11 years, the two neighboring countries are taking steps toward reconciliation.

Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country's territorial integrity.

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push militants of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

The Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria says the Turkish offensive has killed hundreds of civilians, including dozens of children since it started.

Turkey has played a major role in supporting terrorists in Syria ever since a major foreign-backed insurgency overtook the country more than ten years ago.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said the Damascus government will respond through all legitimate means available to the ongoing ground offensive by Turkish forces and allied Takfiri militants in the northern part of the war-battered Arab country.

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