Turkish-controlled areas in Syria protest against reconciliation with Damascus
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Protests erupted in several Turkish-controlled areas in northern Syria on Thursday evening after Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu said there is a need for the opposition and the Syrian government to be reconciled.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) war monitor reported on Friday that there were protests in Azaz, Soran, Ihtimaylat and other areas in the northern countryside of Aleppo, Ras Al-Ain (Serekaniye) in Al-Hasakah countryside, Tal Abyad city in Al-Raqqah province and Idlib city.
Some protesters also burned Turkish flags, and removed Turkish symbols of Syrian-Turkish friendship.
The demonstrators were angered by recent comments by Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Turkey's Daily Sabah reported that Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday confirmed that he briefly spoke with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad in October at the Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Belarus, the first meeting between Syrian and Turkish officials since the Syrian civil war.
"We need to bring the opposition and regime together for reconciliation somehow, there will be no permanent peace otherwise," Cavusoglu said.
Cavusoglu also highlighted the necessity of a “strong central administration to prevent the disintegration of Syria.”
Also in late July, the Turkish FM Cavusoglu said he was willing to support the Syrian government against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the New Arab reported.
While Russia has not allowed a new Turkish military operation, it has allowed Turkish drone strikes and is pushing Turkey for making a deal with Damascus.
The Turkish President Erdogan told reporters after meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Sochi on August 5 that the Russian president Putin told Erdogan to work with the 'resolve these issues along with the regime."
Earlier in July, Erdogan also met his Russian and Iranian counterparts in a tripartite summit in Tehran.
SOHR also reported that the Revolutionary Movement in North Aleppo Countryside in a statement on Thursday underlined that there can be no reconciliation with those “displaced, killed and arrested hundreds of thousands of free Syrians.”
More protests are expected today after the Friday prayer in northern Syria.
Samer Daboul, an independent photojournalist from Idlib, also tweeted that there were calls “by civilians in Azaz, al-Bab, Idlib, Afrin and Aleppo countryside to protest this Friday against the statements of the Turkish FM.”
Nicholas Heras, deputy director of the Human Security Unit at the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, told Kurdistan 24 on Friday that the "Turkish-backed Syrian opposition zones are especially vulnerable if Ankara cuts a deal with Damascus."
"The Syrian refugees have become a domestic political issue inside Turkey, and there's a sense among Turkish policymakers that an indefinite Turkish-backed zone inside Syria is a recipe for disaster."
He also added that Turkey is the "most important impediment to the Assad government being able to recapture all of Syrian territory."
"Russia and Turkey have a pragmatic interest in achieving a modus vivendi inside Syria," he concluded.