Turkey’s last Ambassador to Damascus, Ömer Önhon, one of the most important witnesses of the road to civil war in Syria, gave a conference at Near East University
Date Added: 02 April 2024, 14:55

Last Damascus Ambassador Ömer Önhon said that Bashar Assad remained in his seat despite more than 10 years of civil war as a result of effective military support of Russia and Iran, the domestic and world reaction against ISIS, and the failure of the opposition to show that they could be a strong alternative to government.

Turkey’s last Ambassador to Damascus, Ömer Önhon, evaluated the latest developments in the Middle East in the conference he gave at Near East University. Ömer Önhon, who served as Turkey’s Ambassador to Damascus before the severance of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Syria in 2012 and was one of the most important witnesses of the road to civil war in Syria, gave a conference at the Near East University İrfan Günsel Congress Center.

Retired Turkish Ambassador Ömer Önhon, who spent a significant part of his career focusing on Syria in Damascus and Ankara, signed his book titled “Syria from the Ambassador’s Eyes”, in which he shared his experiences, for the participants at the end of the conference.

Moderated by Near East Institute Director Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mustafa Çıraklı, academicians and students showed great interest in the conference which was open to the public free of charge. Retired Ambassador Ömer Önhon, in his conference commented on the latest developments in the Middle East as well as Syria in full detail. Retired Ambassador Önhon discussed the relations between Ankara and Damascus, the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the tension, the critical Assad-Davutoğlu meeting, the situation of the Kurds in Syria and how the events came to this point.

Near East University Rector Prof. Tamer Şanlıdağ presented a plaque of appreciation to Retired Ambassador Ömer Önhon after the event, .

A solution in Syria can only be achieved with the support of international forces influential in the region.

Referring to the historical stages of the civil war in Syria, which started in 2011 and continues today, Turkey’s last Ambassador to Damascus, Ömer Önhon, discussed the internal and external dynamics in this process. Touching on the relations between Turkey and Syria, retired Ambassador Ömer Önhon underlined that bilateral relations should be considered before and after the Arab Spring and stated that Turkey’s current priorities are protecting the territorial integrity and unity of Syria, ending the conflicts, and meeting the legitimate demands of the Syrian people. He stated that the aim is to conclude the change process peacefully and clear the border region from terrorist elements. Retired Ambassador Önhon also touched upon the balance of power in the region and noted that regional and global powers such as Iran, the USA and Russia continue to maintain their presence in the field, and from time to time, these actors act according to different priorities of their own. Retired Ambassador Önhon stated that the only condition for Syria’s recovery and the return of refugees is that these actors provide active support to a political solution.

Retired Ambassador Ömer Önhon’s conference, in which he discussed the historical process of Syria, the development of the current situation and its effects on the Middle East, is available on the official YouTube channel of Near East University via the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKRT1OePQWY It is possible to watch.

Who is Ömer Önhon?

Ömer Önhon graduated from Kingston University’s Department of Economics and served in various positions at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1985. Önhon, who took on important positions such as the Consulate General of New York and the Embassy of Damascus throughout his career, also served in positions such as the Head of the Middle East Department and the Deputy General Manager of the Middle East. In 2012, with the changes in Turkey’s foreign policy due to the civil war in Syria, he was appointed as deputy undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Önhon, who last served as the General Director of International Security Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 2019 and 2021, retired on April 19, 2020.