US ‘discourages’ normalization as Turkey, Syria plan high-level meetings

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – At a January 6 press briefing, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said his government rejected the recent rapprochement between Erdogan and Assad. “We obviously don’t support normalization with Assad,” he declared. 

After Turkish, Syrian, and Russian defense ministers and intelligence officials held a tripartite meeting in Moscow in late 2022, the three countries’ foreign ministers are set to meet later this month, according to Turkish officials. 

This would mark the highest level meeting between Syria and Turkey since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war.  

According to unconfirmed reports by a Turkish opposition newspaper, a meeting between Erdogan and Assad is scheduled to take place before the Turkish national elections in May.   

Recently, figures within the US political establishment have criticized the US’ role in Syria.

Robert Ford, a former US ambassador to Syria, called the normalization process between Ankara and Damascus, as well as the US’ attempt at a political solution, an “illusion” in a recent op-ed piece

Similarly, Mona Yacoubian, a senior advisor with the federal ‘US Institute of Peace’, labeled recent Turkish actions in Syria “a threat to vital US interests” in the region and criticized Washington’s inaction in her own commentary piece.

“We’ll see where these talks go and what actually comes out of this,” Kirby said at the January 6 press conference. “I don’t want to get ahead of where they are.”

Asked whether the Biden administration approved of the Russian-mediated talks and whether Kurds would ‘pay the price’ for this process, Kirby answered “No.”

Reporting by Sasha Hoffman