Turkey’s FM says spoke with Syrian counterpart, triggering protests in northwest Syria

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that he had a short conversation with his counterpart from Syria, Faisal Mekdad, on the sidelines of a Non-Aligned Movement summit in Belgrade in October 2021.

“While I was chatting with other ministers, I had a short chat with the Syrian foreign minister as well,” he told the 13th Ambassadors’ Conference in the capital, Ankara, yesterday (August 11).

“We must somehow make the opposition and the regime in Syria come to terms. Otherwise, there will be no lasting peace,” he remarked.

There must be a “strong administration” in Syria to prevent any division of the country, Çavuşoğlu stressed. “The will that can dominate every corner of its lands can only be achieved through unity and solidarity.”

Having supported the armed groups fighting Syria’s government forces since the war began in 2011, Ankara has had no diplomatic relations with Damascus.

Responding to a question about a possible military operation in northern Syria, Çavuşoğlu said that Türkiye’s operations are “solely to eliminate the areas from terrorists.”

Protests against Türkiye

After Çavuşoğlu’s remarks, videos purpotedly showing protests against Türkiye in northwestern Syria began to circulate on social media.

People took to the streets in Azaz, Jarablus, Marea, Çobanbey and Tal Abyad, towns controlled by Türkiye and its ally Syrian National Army (SNA). Protesters in Azaz burned flags of Türkiye and vandalized the “Ottoman Nation’s Park,” which was built by Türkiye. People with SNA flags are seen among the protesters in some videos.

Protests also erupted in Idlib, the largest stronghold of the armed groups in Syria, where Türkiye also has a significant military presence.



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