Deputy Vice President Major General Hassan Turkmani

Turkmani meets Erdogan for Turkey talks

Deputy Vice President Major General Hassan Turkmani met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday to discuss the growing crisis on the Syrian-Turkish border.

The meeting in Ankara was not pre-announced, Al-Watan reported. The newspaper said it followed a phone call to Erdogan from President Bashar al-Assad, congratulating him on his recent election victory.

The details of the talks were not disclosed, but Al-Watan quoted Turkmani as saying that Syrian refugees in Turkey “will stay there for a short time, and will return quickly”. He said some had already started returning home.

Meanwhile, Syrian army spokesman Riad Haddad denied that the army’s fourth division played any part in recent operations in Jisr al-Shoghour. He was speaking in an interview with Al-Manar channel, run by Hezbollah.

President ‘to address nation’ in coming hours

President Bashar al-Assad will address the nation “within the coming hours” on planned constitutional changes, a Syrian news website has reported. said possible reforms to Article 8 of the constitution could be up for discussion.

Article 8 guarantees the dominance of President Assad’s Ba’ath party in Syrian politics and society, and activists have called for its abolishment in order to implement real democratic reform.

There has been no official announcement from the government regarding a speech from President Assad, however.

Speaking at a meeting with Oman’s Foreign Minister Usef Bin Alawi, the president was quoted as saying: “We trust the ability of the Syrians to come out of the crisis stronger and more unified.”

Criticism of international media for flag coverage

State media criticised international news channels for failing to cover a mass demonstration in support of the government on Wednesday.

SANA said hundreds of thousands took part in the demonstration, which included a 2km-long flag spread along the Mezzeh Highway in Damascus, but international coverage was limited.

It’s not surprising that those channels would purposefully ignore an event of such magnitude and enormity that shows the Syrians’ rejection of the conspiracy against their country and the misguiding campaigns,” it said.

SANA and state television has also been criticised for its lack of neutrality in reporting events in Syria.

Syria Today (Syria)