Syria OKs CHP leader's request to meet Assad

Syria OKs CHP leader's request to meet Assad

Syria OKs CHP leaders request to meet Assad

Syrian authorities have accepted a request from Türkiye's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Özgür Özel to visit Damascus and meet with President Bashar al-Assad, a party official said on July 10.

"The intention to meet was met. From now on, only the maturity of the conditions, where and what date of the meeting will be discussed," CHP deputy leader Burhanettin Bulut said in televised remarks on private broadcaster Halk TV.

Özel has previously suggested that he could serve as a mediator between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Syrian counterpart.

"First, Assad must be persuaded to sit at the table with Türkiye. I can persuade Assad to sit at the table. As long as Erdoğan has such an intention," he told news site T24.

The neighbors have been at odds since 2011 when the Arab Spring uprisings reached Syria and plunged the country into war.

Assad has recently shown a willingness to mend ties with Türkiye amid broader regional reconciliation efforts.

Erdoğan later hinted at the possibility of a meeting with Assad, stating it was "not impossible."

"We may send an invitation [to Assad] at any moment," he said.

Türkiye currently hosts around 3.6 million refugees, primarily from Syria, making it the leading country globally in this regard, according to the U.N.'s migration agency.

In his potential talks with Assad, Özel has pledged to address Türkiye's refugee issue and to "seek resources from Europe."

He criticized a 2016 deal between Türkiye and the European Union on refugees, which provided an aid package for Syrian refugees in Türkiye in exchange for Ankara's commitment to curbing irregular migration to Europe.

Bashar Assad,