Lebanese Arabic news broadcaster Al-Mayadeen is reporting that Russia has begun organizing "reconciliation talks" between Syria and Turkey, in what would be an unprecedented development, given President Erdogan's position has long been that Turkey won't negotiate with Damascus so long as Assad is in power.
The Middle East broadcaster cited Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who said, "Moscow will ask for start of talks between Damascus and Ankara".
Russia's TASS has also confirmed the initiative, making it the first significant attempt to bring the two sides to the table, given Ankara severed diplomatic ties with Damascus in 2012. Turkey could indeed be ready given it has finally gotten its way in Syria — with a long planned attack on Syrian Kurds along the border in northern Syria, which began Wednesday with an air and ground offensive.
Previously Ankara had signaled that it would only engage Damascus if it led to Assad being removed from office. But with US troops now largely out of the way, and with Trump signalling that he wants to ultimately bring them all home and let regional powers sort out the aftermath, including the threat of ISIS prisoners in northeast Syria, the final deal-makers that remain are Putin and Erdogan.