Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in Moscow on Wednesday for talks to normalize the relations with Turkiye’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Following the outbreak of war in Syria, the ties between Erdogan and Assad were severed as Turkiye actively engaged in the war and supported groups who opposed Assad.
Kremlin considers it significantly important to mediate and mend relations between the two neighbors, which will add to Putin’s diplomatic credibility, as Russia has been isolated internationally over the Ukraine conflict.
Bashar al-Assad’s visit to Moscow comes after the surprise announcement last week as China mediated the restoration of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the Middle Eastern major rivals.
Assad, who arrived in Moscow on Tuesday, supported Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine and said the visit would mark a new chapter of his country’s ties with Moscow.
“Talks would focus on bilateral relations but “Turkiye-Syria ties will be discussed by the two leaders,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told to reporters.
The ties between Damascus and Ankara restrained with the outbreak of civil war in Syria in 2011, as Turkiye supported Assad’s opposition group – which eventually led to the tense diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Political analysts believe that Moscow tries to bridge the divide between Syria and Turkey to fight a common enemy in Kurdish groups in northern Syria, described as “terrorists” by Ankara and backed by Washington.
Meanwhile, Turkish media has reported that diplomats from Russia, Turkiye, Syria, and Iran will meet in Moscow this week to pave the way for a foreign minister’s meeting.
Russia remains Syria’s close ally and provided Assad’s regime military support to fight ISIS and opposition groups who wanted to topple his government. It is believed that Russia gained its strategic objectives in Syria, and now mediates to normalize the ties between Ankara and Damascus.