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Ankara at crossroads on Syria policy

Developments in Syria have confounded the Turkish government’s efforts to depose President Bashar al-Assad and forced a rethink of its policies.
A photo of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is seen along a street in old Homs city May 8, 2014. Syrian forces say they will take full control on Thursday over Homs, a city once vibrant with pro-democracy crowds but now associated with images of ruin that epitomise the brutality of Syria's civil war. After holding the Old City of Homs for nearly two years, close to 1,200 rebel fighters boarded buses which took them out of the "capital of the revolution" in convoys on Wednesday and Thursday, activists said.
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As the Syrian crisis moves into its third year, it is premature to say that President Bashar al-Assad is winning his war, as he claims. It is, nevertheless, clear he is not losing it. He also has enough confidence to stage sham elections while the bloody civil war still rages, with all its supposedly democratic trappings, including candidates who will run against him.

Assad’s intention to run in these elections also indicates he has no plans to disappear from the scene anytime soon, especially since he continues to be backed strongly by Russia and Iran. All of this is bad news for Turkey, where the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has banked on a total defeat for the Assad regime and has also been pushing futilely for a Western-led military intervention in Syria.

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