US Senator warns of Damascus-Ankara rapprochement

ERBIL, KRI, Iraq (North Press ) – On Saturday, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez considered steps taken by Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a rapprochement with the Syrian government a failure in advancing regional security. 

In a tweet, Menendez said that recent diplomatic outreach by Turkey and the UAE to the Syrian President “fails to advance regional security and undermines efforts to hold the Syrian regime accountable for its war crimes against its people.” 

Recently, Turkish bids to normalize ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have drawn widespread protests in areas under the control of Turkish forces and the Turkish-backed armed opposition factions. 

On Jan. 5, the Turkish president said during a speech in Ankara, “As Russia-Turkey-Syria, we have launched a process through the meeting of our intelligence chiefs and defense ministers in Moscow…..Then, God willing, we will bring our foreign ministers together trilaterally. Then, depending on the developments, we will come together as leaders.” 

Late in Dec. 2022, the Syrian and Turkish ministers of defense met in the Russian capital Moscow, marking the first announced official meeting between Syria and Turkey since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011. 

In the same relation, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan met al-Assad in the Syrian capital Damascus on Jan. 5, where the Emirati diplomat stressed his country’s full support for a political solution in Syria.  

Menendez noted there “cannot be normalization without legitimate accountability.” 

In March 2022, the Syrian president made his first visit to an Arab state UAE since the beginning of the Syrian war in 2011, causing a lot of controversy in political circles regarding the reasons behind it, especially after years of estrangement. 

Reporting by Hozan Zubeir