Washington estimates Assad will leave in six months

January 17, 2013, Thursday/ 09:43:00/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM

Washington is estimating that Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad who survived thick and thin during a 22-month bloody uprising in his country that sits atop fragile sectarian fault lines will eventually leave in six months.

Senior US diplomats told their Turkish counterparts, led by Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, who is on a visit in Washington, that the Assad regime has six months to live. The timeline was conveyed to the Turkish side when Sinirlioğlu urged the US diplomats to take clear position on the Syrian crisis that has now left more than 60,000 dead.

While Turkish and Western leaders long argued that Assad’s days are numbered, they avoided announcing a definite date of the regime fall.

Diplomatic sources said that Turkish and US diplomats discussed bilateral issues and particularly the case of Syria during talks in Washington between Sinirlioğlu and US Assisstant of Secretary William Burns.

The sources said peace process between Turkish authorities and the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was briefly discussed during the meeting and that Turkish side didn’t request anything from Washington in this regard. American diplomats welcomed the initiative and said they support the process.

Ankara also expressed its discontent over the listing of Jabhat al-Nusra, which is the most effective military grouping on the ground in Syria and believed to have links with Al-Qaeda in Iraq, as a terrorist organization and said the announcement is ill-timed. Diplomats said that Turkish diplomats conveyed to their American counterparts that Washington should focus on the crisis in Syria rather than dealing with what they called “details.”

Turkish diplomats also told the US diplomats that military solution in the Iran nuclear standoff is not possible and that it will cause additional problems if used.

Diplomats also exchanged views on the Arab Spring and discussed upcoming elections in Israel, Armenia and Greek Cyprus and their possible impacts on the region. Energy issues and the latest situation in Iraq were among the issues Turkish and US officials discussed during the meeting.


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