The leader of the Turkish opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has announced his intention of establishing direct contact with the Syrian government.
"We are now considering and discussing the topic, of whether to go or not to go to Syria. But we want a channel for contacts with the central leadership to be opened," Kilichdaroglu told journalists in Ankara.
The lawmaker went on by talkign about the possibility of an Ankara-Damascus peace.
"If peace is to be ensured between Turkey and Syria in the near future, if rapprochement starts and dialogue on the issue of territorial integrity begin, it will only be possible by a direct meeting of Turkey and Syria, without any intermediaries." If we do not want terrorist organizations to become entrenched, we somehow need to build relations with Syria. We believe that it is necessary to take steps to establish relations with Syria."
The relations between Syria and Turkey have been abrasive, including the mutual exchange of accusations between the country's leaders: with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calling his Syrian counterpart a terrorist and urging him to step down, and Bashar al-Assad, in turn, refuses to consider Ankara as its partner or a guarantor state in the peace talks, accusing the country of supporting terrorism.
Turkey launched the Olive Branch military operation in the Kurdish-dominated Syrian town of Afrin on January 20, aiming to protect its borders from a "terrorist army," soon after the US announcement of its decision to start training the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), considered by Ankara to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), designated as a terrorist group by Turkey and several other countries.
Damascus has, however, denounced the operation as a violation of Syria's sovereignty. For its part, Russia has called upon all parties involved to exercise restraint and respect Syria's territorial integrity.