Syrian Revolution 2011DEBKAfile 13 Aug. 2011: US President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan agreed to set Syrian President Bashar Assad the deadline of Aug. 27 for extinguishing the popular uprising against his rule and starting to implement genuine democratic reforms.

Debkafile reports that Assad apparently convinced his Turkish guest that, with a free hand, he would finish off the revolt in 10 to 15 days and then get down to introducing political reforms including free elections with full opposition participation. If he went back on his word, then Obama and Erdogan would talk again about a possible US-Turkish military operation in Syria. They decided to trust Assad “one last time” regardless of his broken promises in the past.

After their advisers left the room, Assad showed the Turkish foreign minister intelligence materials with documents and photos as evidence that the rebels fighting his regime were Islamic extremists, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda. He said that if they carried the day in Syria they would move on to Turkey. He therefore asked Ankara for more patience to allow him to subdue these forces.
This was a reference to Erdogan’s statement last Saturday, Aug. 6, that Turkey’s patience with Syrian brutality was “running thin.”

The Syrian ruler asked for an assurance that Ankara “would not to use Syria for a Turkish (and therefore NATO) campaign against Iran.”
In the background of this demand was a comment Russia’s NATO ambassador Dmitry Rogozin made on Aug. 5 that NATO was planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the Assad regime “with the long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran.”

Debkafile notes: The Syrian ruler has finagled a free hand for intensifying his crackdown on dissent with an unabashed ferocity few tyrants can match. He is trusted to keep his side of a bargain despite an exceptionally bad record in keeping his word and truth-telling.

Tuesday, Assad invited the Turkish minister and reporters (no foreign correspondents wanted in Syria) to see for themselves that he was pulling his tanks out of Hama (after their guns had brutalized protesters for weeks). None were allowed to leave the official vehicles (lest they see whole sections of a major city reduced to rubble).
As soon as Davutoglu flew out, the tanks rolled back into the city.
On the ground meanwhile, Turkish papers reported Friday Aug. 12 that Ankara had called up reserves and transferred them to the Syrian border to deal with a new and heavy influx of Syrian refugees.