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Turkey's deadline for al-Assad - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It is hard to believe that the Turks did not give a two-week deadline to the al-Assad regime, despite the Turkish Foreign Minister recently denying this. However, why did Davutoğlu not deny this immediately after leaving Damascus, when the news of the deadline was the subject of the international media’s attention?

Even the Syrian demonstrators raised banners last Friday with a message for the Turkish Prime Minister, saying that 15 days is enough to annihilate the Syrian people. Despite this, the Turks were yet to deny the deadline. There is also other evidence to indicate that Turkey may have already given the deadline to al-Assad, therefore it is acceptable to say today that the Turkish deadline may have ended. Therefore, we should not worry about what the Turks wanted from al-Assad, or what Ankara will do now, but the most important question is: Are the Turks fully aware that it is difficult to trust the al-Assad regime?

The facts throughout the years confirm that it is difficult to trust the al-Assad regime. The Saudis experienced this, as the regime failed to fulfill promises it made. The Qataris tried their luck when they claimed that Doha would be able to succeed because it was not involved in Lebanon like Saudi Arabia, and enjoyed relations with all parties, including Iran, yet the Qataris ultimately failed as well. The French also tried and did not achieve anything, but instead they withdrew after confirming that the al-Assad regime has not been sincere in any of its promises throughout its reign. But the Turks were always confident that they had the magic solution for Syria, which was non-existent for others, and that they were able to “solve the problems”. It seems that they have been seduced by what Hassan Nasrallah said on one occasion, that the Turks were more Arabic than the Arabs, but Ankara did not realize that this was just part of the tricks of the al-Assad regime, and its allies in Lebanon and Iran!

Today Ankara is confronting a reality, which is both old and new, namely that it is difficult to trust the al-Assad regime, even if Damascus were to appoint a member of the brotherhood as Prime Minster.

It was sufficiently embarrassing for Turkey that while Davutoğlu was meeting with al-Assad in Damascus, Syria’s forces were launching an attack near the Turkish border, not to mention the farcical spectacle of the withdrawal from Hama. If the Turks reviewed the history of al-Assad’s forces in Lebanon, they would notice the countless times when Damascus announced that it would redeploy its army from Lebanese territory, in an attempt merely to deceive the international community that Syria had reduced its troop numbers there!

The truth is that there are few in our region who learn from history, rather most repeat their mistakes. The al-Assad regime, Iran, and Hezbollah have been able to win Arab sympathy through lies of defiance and resistance. Now al-Assad’s forces are doing to the Palestinians today in al-Ramel camp in Latakia what they did to them before in “Tel al-Zaatar”. Even the UNRWA is warning of what is happening to the Palestinians in Latakia, in a manner similar to its warning during the days of the Israeli war on Gaza!

In summary, we can say that for the Turks today, the logical solution to the Syrian problem is the departure of the al-Assad regime. The first step to achieve this is the issuance of genuine resolutions from the UN Security Council. Without this step, the suffering of the Syrians will be prolonged, and Turkey’s interests will be in real danger.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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