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Turkish DM, intelligence Chief arrive in Moscow for Syria talks: Ankara

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Ankra: Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the head of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) of Turkey, Hakan Fidan, arrived in Moscow on Tuesday to partake in a quadripartite security meeting with the Turkish, Russian, Syrian and Iranian counterparts on the Syrian issue, the Turkish Defense Ministry said.

Akar and Fidan were received by Turkish Ambassador to Moscow Mehmet Samsar and Russian officials at Vnukovo International Airport, the ministry added.

The Turkish defense chief is also planning to hold a number of bilateral meetings during his visit to Moscow, the Turkish Defense Ministry said.

On Monday, Akar told state media that the upcoming round of talks would be focused on the progress made at the three-way meeting hosted by Moscow on December 28, 2022. He said the quartet was intent on restoring peace and security in the region.

The civil war in Syria has been going on since 2011, with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces fighting various armed insurgent groups. Since 2016, the Turkish armed forces have also been conducting air and ground operations in Syria against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which wants to establish a Kurdish autonomy in Turkey. Damascus has repeatedly called the presence of Turkish forces on the Syrian border illegal and urged Ankara to withdraw its troops.

In 2017, Russia, Turkey and Iran launched a mediation group on the Syrian settlement in Astana. In January 2018, the Russian city of Sochi hosted a congress of the Syrian national dialogue, the first such attempt since the start of the conflict to gather an inclusive pool of Syrian political forces. The main result of the Congress was the decision to create a Constitutional Committee, which operates in Geneva and whose main task is to prepare a constitutional reform in Syria.

In December 2022, the defense ministers of Russia, Syria and Turkey held trilateral talks in Moscow to discuss ways to resolve the Syrian crisis. The negotiations marked the first official meeting between the Turkish and Syrian defense chiefs in 11 years.

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