0

Comments

Facebook

Twitter

Google

send


NOW

Turkey intelligence official
visits Damascus: report

As-Safir claimed that aide of Turkish National Intelligence Organization chief Hakan Fidan met a high-ranking Syrian security official.

Damascus. (AFP/Louai Beshara)

BEIRUT – A Turkish intelligence official has allegedly held a meeting in Syria’s capital, according to a Lebanese daily that supports the Bashar al-Assad regime.

 

As-Safir reported Monday morning that an unnamed aide of Turkish National Intelligence Organization chief Hakan Fidan arrived Sunday in Damascus, where he met a high-ranking Syrian security official.

 

The report did not go into details on the purported visit, saying only that the two men discussed “developments in northern Syria,” an implicit reference to military gains notched by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) that Ankara opposes.

 

Turkey has reportedly been preparing a cross-border military operation in which rebel factions would attack the ISIS-held border town of Jarablus, far behind the Syrian opposition’s present front-lines with the jihadist group in the northern Aleppo countryside.

 

The intelligence official’s alleged trip to Syria comes after Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Saturday said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could play a role in a “transitional government” in the war-torn country, a reversal of Turkey’s previous policy on the matter.

 

Yildirim also reiterated his country’s opposition to the YPG’s presence along Turkey’s border with Syria, a little over a week after the YPG-led SDF wrested control of the northern Syrian town of Manbij from ISIS.

 

Ankara has since insisted that all Kurdish troops must withdraw westward across the Euphrates, although the SDF recently announced it was aiming to advance further east and take the key town of Al-Bab.

 

Speculation has mounted in recent months, especially in Syrian Kurdish media outlets, that Turkey would seek a rapprochement with the Syrian regime, especially over the issue of the YPG in northern Syria.

 

In April 2016, Algerian newspaper El-Watan reported that the north African country had held a series of “mediation” meetings between Damascus and Ankara over the issue of the de-facto autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria.

 

NOW's English news desk editor Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) wrote this report. Amin Nasr translated Arabic-language material. 

A Turkish intelligence official purportedly held a meeting Sunday in the Syrian capital. (AFP/Louai Beshara)

The report did not go into details on the purported visit, saying only that the two men discussed “developments in northern Syria."