Jul 27 - Defected Syrian General Manaf Tlas meets with senior Turkish officials in the capital city of Ankara to. Sarah Wali reports.
One of the most senior defectors from President Bashar Al-Assad's regime attends a dinner with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in the Turkish capital of Ankara Thursday. As a former friend of Assad and a senior officer in his Republican Guards, General Manaf Tlas may play a role in any transition of power in the war-torn country. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Assad's time in power was coming to an end. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRIME MINISTER, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad and his inner circle are about to leave power and preparations are underway for the new era but the question is what will happen in this new period? Some countries are trying to delay this process but I believe that the people of Syria should determine this process. We should pave way for the people of Syria." Erdogan has been an outspoken critic of Assad's crackdown against the country's 16-month uprising. Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have flooded across the border into Turkey to escape the violence which has so far claimed some 17,000 lives. Sarah Wali, Reuters