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Protests in Syria’s Idlib against Turkiye-Syria reconciliation

January 4, 2023 at 2:16 pm

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, Turkiye on December 22, 2022 [Murat Gök/Anadolu Agenc]

Protesters in Syria’s Idlib Governorate held a vigil yesterday against the ongoing rapprochement between the Turkish government and the Syrian regime.

The vigil was part of ongoing demonstrations against a thaw in relations between Ankara and Damascus.

Last Friday hundreds of Syrians demonstrated in the town of Al-Bab in the Aleppo Governorate, calling on the government not to reconcile.

Protests have also taken place in other towns across Aleppo and Idlib Governorate.

Two days before, Syrian, Turkish and Russian defence ministers met in Moscow for the first time in over a decade to discuss migration and Kurdish militants on the Syria-Turkiye border.

Turkiye and Syria have been enemies throughout the 12-year conflict after Ankara backed opposition groups.

READ: Report: 1,057 civilians killed in Syria in 2022

Syrian political activists have sought refuge in Turkiye, but this has changed recently with a rise of anti-refugee sentiment spreading through the country and calls for Syrians to return home.

During the conflict, Turkiye’s president called his Syrian counterpart a terrorist and in return, Bashar Al-Assad has said that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a thief stealing Syrian land.

The US has spoken out against states normalising relations with Syria and has called on countries to consider the Assad regime’s human rights record.

The Assad regime, backed by Iran and Russia, has used chemical weapons against civilians and brutally tortured prisoners.

Government forces have carried aerial bombing and artillery shelling on hospitals, besieged civilians and restricted access to humanitarian aid.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said earlier this week that 1,057 civilians were killed in Syria in 2022, including 251 children and 133 from torture.

Also yesterday, Turkiye’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with the head of the Syrian National Council Mahmut Al-Maslat and other members of the Syrian opposition to try and allay fears of an overture.