Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met in Damascus to discuss the current situation in Palestine as well as their nations’ relations with Israel. On Monday, Syrian President al-Assad met with Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu in Damascus. The two discussed Turkish-Syrian relations, but kept their focus on Palestinian issues. They both agreed that ‘additional, reinforced efforts’ are necessary to end Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip.

The two were joined for lunch by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Israeli news source Ynet reported that the three of them discussed ‘ties between Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey, and methods of strengthening them in a manner that will positively affect regional issues, especially the Palestinian one.’

Assad and Davutoglu discussed the IDF raid on the freedom flotilla in May which left nine Turkish activists dead as well as the subsequent tension between Turkey and Israel. Turkey has threatened to cut off all diplomatic ties with Israel if the Israeli government does not apologize for its actions and pay compensation to the families of the activists who were killed.

President Assad said recently that Israel and Turkey must improve their relations for the sake of the Middle East as Turkey will be the mediator in peace talks between Israel and Syria. Syria and Israel are still in a technical state of war over Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights after the Days War in 1967.