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September 16, 2013 2:04 pm

Report: Turkey to Ask U.S. to Prepare ‘Plan B’ For Syria

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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Photo: WikiCommons.

Turkey is set to ask the United States to prepare a “Plan B” for Syria if a current agreement to rid the country of chemical weapons proves unsuccessful, Hurriyet Daily News reported on Monday.

“This process will give more time for [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad [to stay] in power,” a Turkish diplomatic source told the paper in reference to the deal reached Saturday between the United States and Russia that withholds military action against Syria if it relinquishes its chemical weapon stockpiles. “The deal should have been more open and straight in outlining the possible sanctions to be imposed on Damascus in the event of the regime’s incompliance with the deal,” the source said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is set to attend a meeting in Paris Monday to discuss the issue with participants including foreign ministers from the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.

“This deal should not delay the need for an immediate resolution of the ongoing human tragedy in Syria. Al-Assad should not be allowed to continue his massacres,” Davutoğlu reportedly told U.S. Secretary of State Kerry during a phone conversation Saturday. “We are concerned that the regime will abuse this deal for the continuation of the human tragedy in Syria,” the Turkish foreign minister was reported as saying.

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In Paris, Davutoğlu  is expected to tell Kerry that Assad should not be permitted to abuse the process, and that Ankara, Washington and Moscow should accordingly prepare contingency plans with a view to Damascus’ potentially breaking the terms of the deal, Hurriyet reported.

In responding to the U.S.-Russia agreement, Turkey described the deal as an opportunity for al-Assad to extend his time in power, though it applauded the effort to rid the region of chemical weapons.

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