After eight years of stalemate and periodic tension, Israel and Syria announced Wednesday that they have launched "serious and continuous" indirect peace talks aimed at ending one of the region's longest-running disputes.
In identical statements issued from Damascus and Jerusalem, the rival neighbors said that they are taking part in indirect negotiations with Turkish diplomats serving as mediators.
"The two sides stated their intention to conduct these talks in good faith and with an open mind," according to the statement. "They decided to pursue the dialogue between them in a serious and continuous way, in order to achieve the goal of comprehensive peace."
If successful, the talks could lead to a broader shift in regional dynamics by returning the Golan Heights to Syria, cutting off critical support for Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, and diminishing the influence of Iran in the region.