Sam Dagher


Syrian-Turkish Rapprochement

von Sam Dagher
In light of recent steps towards rapprochement between Turkey and Syria after more than a decade of animosity, this study explores the consequences and questions related to the normalization of ties between the two countries. What repercussions might a rapprochement have for Syrian citizens, refugees and internally displaced as well as concerned non-state actors and foreign players? And how will it impact the overall humanitarian, economic and political situation in Syria?

In the last days of 2022, Syrian and Turkish officials met in Moscow, the first public, high-level meeting between the two states since the eruption of the civil war in Syria in 2011. The meeting was a culmination of months of overtures by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan toward Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad after more than a decade of hostility.

If a full-fledged reconciliation between Syria and Turkey were to take place, it would be a major turning point in the Syrian conflict given the significant role Ankara has played over the past decade. Turkey shares a 910-kilometer border with Syria and hosts an estimated 3.6 million Syrian refugees. This comes in addition to the pivotal role Ankara has played in supporting the Syrian opposition, both its armed and political wings.

Erdoğan appears to be chiefly motivated by Turkish domestic and national security concerns, specifically ahead Turkish general elections in which the large presence of Syrian refugees in Turkey constitute a major point of contention. Regardless of whether the current rapprochement is mainly motivated by Turkish domestic political concerns, it already created real-life concerns for Syrians both within Turkey and Syria, regional non-state actors as well as international players.

This report thus offers an in-depth exploration of these new dynamics, looking at them from a political, economic, security and humanitarian angle. The study concludes with a set of policy recommendations for what has largely been viewed as a frozen conflict in Syria.

Anne-Sophie Bauer

Anne-Sophie Bauer

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