MESOPOTAMIA NEWS LATEST : Turkish, Syrian intelligence chiefs discuss possible cooperation against Kurds

MESOP  14 Jan 2020 – Turkey’s intelligence chief Hakan Fidan (C) and Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) in Moscow, Russia, January 13, 2020. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry via Ekurd

ANKARA,— Turkish and Syrian heads of intelligence, Hakan Fidan and Ali Mamlouk met in Moscow on Monday, in the first official contact in years despite Ankara’s long-standing hostility to President Bashar al-Assad, a senior Turkish official and Syrian news agency SANA said.

Both sides have said there have been intelligence contacts, but this is the first explicit acknowledgement of such a senior meeting.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan backs Syrian Islamic fighters who fought to topple Assad during Syria’s eight-year civil war. Erdogan described Assad as a terrorist and called for him to be driven from power, which earlier in the war had appeared possible.

Turkey’s intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, and his Syrian counterpart discussed the ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib, and possible coordination against the Kurdish presence in northern Syria.

The discussions included “the possibility of working together against YPG, the terrorist organization PKK’s Syrian component, in the East of the Euphrates river,” a Turkish official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.