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Why Aleppo’s fall will be a game-changer for Turkey

The recapture of Aleppo by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces could turn the tables on Turkey.
A Syrian government soldier gestures a v-sign under the Syrian national flag near a general view of eastern Aleppo after they took control of al-Sakhour neigbourhood in Aleppo, Syria in this handout picture provided by SANA on November 28, 2016. SANA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. - RTSTSGY

Soon after the insurgency in Syria got underway, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed his sensitivity about Aleppo for the first time. Around midnight on March 29, 2011, we were on board his aircraft flying back to Turkey from his visit to Iraq. Erdogan had made history as the first Turkish prime minister to pay an official visit to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

We were flying from Erbil back to Ankara, following a dinner given in his honor in the residence of once-and-future KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, in the presence of his uncle and father-in-law, KRG President Massoud Barzani. There were three of us journalists listening to Erdogan; one is now an adviser to Erdogan, who became president in 2014, and the other is at large as a wanted Gulenist following the failed July 15 coup attempt.

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