Ankara sent deputy intel chief to Assad, report says

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One of the deputies of Turkey’s intelligence chief has visited Syrian capital of Damascus, according to a recent report in the Lebanese As-Safir daily. 

A deputy of Hakan Fidan, head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization  (MİT) met with high level Syrian intelligence officials in Damascus, As-Safir claimed.

The meetings reportedly focused on recent developments in northern Syria, reported the daily basing its story on “credible sources.”

The alleged visit by the Turkish intelligence official to Damascus came a day after Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım gave warm messages acknowledging a role for Syrian President Bashar Assad during a transitional period in Syria.

Speaking to media representatives in İstanbul on Saturday, Yıldırım said Turkey expects to become a more active partner in regional efforts involving war-torn Syria and is willing to accept Syrian President Assad only in a transitional role.

“Could Syria carry Assad in the long term?” Yıldırım said. “Certainly not.”

Turkey, which has not sent an official envoy to Syria since 2011 when a civil war broke out in the country, has been a vigorous supporter of the removal of the Assad regime so far.

Yıldırım’s recent remarks signaled a shift for Ankara with a possible alliance with Assad.

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