On June 30, the foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey met for talks in Antalya. The negotiations were initiated by the Turkish side.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu attempted to "break the ice" with his counterpart in the issue of increasing the number of cross-border checkpoints for the transportation of humanitarian goods to Syria, which is constantly mooted by the Turks. Our portal has posted several materials with assumptions concerning Russia's short-term stance on the issue.
Upon completing the talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed the assumptions, saying that the Russian leadership is opposed to increasing the number of cross-border passageways. Russia insists on a package treatment of what entailed the current situation in Syria, which requires humanitarian assistance to its people.
The first reason is sanctions that have been unilaterally imposed in defiance of international rules by the United States and Western Europe and, above all, the notorious Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act limiting most countries' economic cooperation with Syria.
The second reason is that the entire international humanitarian aid is only sent to Syrian refugee camps located in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Aid coming from the UN to Syria is distributed among the refugees in the camp of al-Hawl and those in the Idlib province. The Americans themselves admit that the Kurdish-controlled al-Hawl camp mainly accommodates families of Islamic State militants (ISIL is an international Muslim terrorist group banned in Russia), who failed to put up with the defeat of terrorists.
Humanitarian supplies arriving in the province of Idlib get frequently looted by militants of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group (a pro-Turkish Islamic terrorist group banned in Russia).
Russia insists on increasing the volume of humanitarian aid, which should be distributed by Syria's official authorities. The current situation torpedoes all the actions by Damascus and Moscow aimed at laying the groundwork for the return of refugees who have "taken root" in foreign territories by virtue of the assistance provided.
Sergey Lavrov made it clear to Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu that Russia will the reject proposal of Ireland and Norway in the UN Security Council to open new border crossings.
The Turkish minister predictably expressed dissatisfaction with heavy-handed action by the Syrian military (for which read Russia) in response to armed provocations by Ankara-controlled radical detachments. It should be noted that Russian Aerospace Forces recently delivered several localized strikes on the headquarters, master stations, command points and military warehouses belonging to the gangs in the governorates of Idlib, Aleppo and Latakia, killing over 20 field commanders.
According to information leaked to open sources, the Turks tried to probe the Russian side's viewpoint on the possibility of signing a new ceasefire agreement in the Idlib de-escalation zone. But they were sent packing, as Turkey did not fulfill a single obligation assumed under the previous Memorandum of March 5, 2020.
In his turn, Sergey Lavrov informed the Turkish side about the Russian leadership's concern about plans to establish a Turkish military base in Azerbaijan.
Even though both ministers exchanged courtesies at the final press conference, mutual trust between Moscow and Ankara is on the decrease, the reason for which is Turkish policy pursued in a number of areas that are vital for Russia.
In this regard, the parties postponed the high-level talks scheduled for July 6 to 8 in the Astana format until August and agreed to proceed with consultations.