World Bulletin/News Desk
Syria is ready to start direct dialogue with Turkey to ease tensions between the two countries, Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement circulated by local media on Saturday.
Tensions between Damascus and Ankara escalated in October after an artillery shell allegedly fired by the Syrian army landed in a Turkish border village killing five. In response, the Turkish parliament authorized the government to launch cross-border military operations as a deterrent against potential attacks from Syria for the period of one year.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested on October 10 that the best way to resolve the conflict would be through direct contacts between Syrian and Turkish authorities.
“Syria welcomes Lavrov’s statement on the necessity to create a mechanism of direct dialogue on security issues between Syria and Turkey,” the ministry’s statement said.
Syrian authorities have discussed with the Russian ambassador in Damascus “the possibility of setting up a joint Syrian-Turkish committee on monitoring security along the mutual border,” according to the statement.
Meanwhile, Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN and Arab League envoy for Syria, is expected to hold talks in Turkey on Saturday to learn Turkey's view of the situation as the escalation of tensions between Damascus and Ankara has fueled fears that the violent conflict in Syria may drag other countries into a regional war.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down accusing him of murdering his own people. The Syrian authorities, in return, have accused Turkey of arming and funding Syrian rebels.
On Wednesday, Turkey infuriated Syria when it intercepted a Syrian passenger plane en route from Moscow to Damascus and seized what it said was military equipment on board.
Syria denounced the move as air piracy and Russia has said the cargo was radar parts that complied with international law.
Mr Davutoglu will also meet separately in Istanbul with Arab leaders and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle for talks on the Syria crisis Saturday.