Syria’s top military defector meets with Turkish FM

Syria’s top military defector meets with Turkish FM
# 26 July 2012 22:52 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Brigadier General Manaf Tlas, a senior defector from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle, had a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu late Thursday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Turkey’s Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan also participated the meeting, according to the sources.

Tlas, a Sunni senior official from Assad’s Republican Guards, defected earlier this month and reportedly went to France via Turkey.

In a recent interview, Tlas said that he "did not leave Syria to lead the transitional period, but would cooperate with every person who wants to rebuild Syria. "A group, including opposition, from inside and outside Syria, should cooperate to accomplish this phase."

"I am discussing with... people outside Syria to reach a consensus with those inside," Tlas was quoted by Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat Thursday.

Tlas said he left Syria in the hope of uniting "the honorable people inside and outside Syria to set out a road map to get Syria out of this crisis."

Tlas’ father, Mustafa Tlas, was a close friend of late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad.

Turkey, once a close ally to Syria, has imposed a series of sanctions, including an arms embargo, on the unrest-torn country due to its alleged crackdown on anti-government protesters. The Turkish-Syrian relations strained further after Syria shot down a Turkish military jet, which crashed into the Mediterranean Sea in June.
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