Locations Affected: Turkey, Syria


On 07th July, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced plans to invite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for talks aimed at restoring relations between Turkey and Syria. Syrian officials have stressed that normalization hinges on Turkey withdrawing its troops from northwest Syria, where they are stationed to combat Kurdish militant groups like the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and terrorist organizations such as ISIS. Turkey views cooperation with Syria and Iraq as essential to jointly addressing the perceived threat from PKK. Meanwhile, President Assad has expressed openness to normalization, contingent upon Turkey respecting Syrian sovereignty and supporting counterterrorism efforts.


Turkey severed ties with Syria following the onset of the Syrian civil war in 2011, during which rebel faction, supported by Turkey, aimed to overthrow President Assad.

Presently, Turkey’s efforts to normalize relations with Syria are part of a broader strategy to strengthen ties with Gulf countries, enhance capital inflows, leverage geographic advantages for economic growth, and reduce reliance on the United States. Both nations are also driven to resume negotiations due to concerns about the potential creation of an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria, which threatens their national security. In 2023, reconciliation talks between Turkey and Syria, facilitated by Russia and Iran, were pursued but did not yield tangible results.

So What:

  • On 28th June, the Abu al-Zandin gate, located south of al-Bab in northern Syria, was opened through Russian mediation to establish a trade route between Turkey and Syria. This initiative is viewed as the first concrete step toward normalizing relations between the two countries.
  • The prospect of normalization and the opening of the Abu al-Zandin gate have sparked unrest in various areas of Syria, including Idlib. Syrians in Turkish-controlled zones are demanding the withdrawal of Turkish forces. In al-Bab, residents stormed the crossing and destroyed its facilities to express their discontent with the gate’s opening.
  • Tensions have also risen in Turkey following the arrest of a Syrian national accused of sexually abusing a minor. This incident has led to violence in several cities and a surge in anti-migrant sentiment.


The process of normalizing relations between Syria and Turkey is anticipated to be complex and could have regional implications. Internal unrest stemming from these talks may escalate into protests, potentially hindering progress. Nevertheless, Turkish President Erdogan has stated that he is committed to advancing these efforts. Both Russia and Iraq have expressed support for initiatives aimed at restoring bilateral ties. Organizations are advised to monitor developments and prepare contingency plans accordingly.

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