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Turkey, which shares a long border with Syria and hosts about 18,000 refugees, has been one of the most vocal critics of the regime there and its leaders were frustrated by Assad’s failure to heed their calls for reform last year. In an interview with The Associated Press late Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Syria was a Cold War-era case of the “illusion of autocratic regimes.”

“They think that after a while, they will control the situation. But when they do more oppression, then pressure, then they are losing more control,” said Davutoglu, who has traveled to Syria dozens of times in the last decade.

Of Assad, he said: “Unfortunately, he did not show vision, courage, and understand the logic, the logic of the flow of history.”


Associated Press reporters Ayse Wieting in Istanbul and Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, contributed.