Meeting of Turkish, Syrian intelligence chiefs a sign of change –analysts

The Moscow meeting last week between the head of Turkey’s intelligence service (MİT) Hakan Fidan and his Syrian counterpart Ali Mamlouk is a sign that Russian pressure on Ankara to recognise the Syrian regime as legitimate is starting to work, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’ (FDD) senior director of the Turkey program Aykan Erdemir and research associate Brenna Knippen wrote

The meeting between Fidan and Mamlouk was the first of its kind in a long time, although there are reports that backchannel meetings continued in Iran and Syria in recent years.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarkable ability to broker the meeting is “yet another reminder that Russia is keen and able to fill the vacuum left by the partial U.S. withdrawal from Syria and the Middle East,” the article said.

Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “hope to use their personal rapport” for the settlement of the conflict, it said, with Erdoğan hoping for further cooperation with Russia in Libya.

Turkey and Russia back opposing sides in both Syria and Libya. Over the years, Turkey has provided extensive support to opponents of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, and recently signed two important agreements with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj.

Syria’s demands Mamlouk reportedly posed in the meeting, which would “amount to a near-complete capitulation” the article said, revolved around an end to Turkish involvement in the Syrian conflict.

Following Turkey’s military incursion into Syria’s northeastern region that was controlled by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, an agreement was signed between Russia and Turkey that eventually lead to Syrian government forces moving back into the border area after years of absence. A limited agreement between the regime and Kurdish forces was separately reached.