- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Secretary of State John F. Kerry will head to Turkey before the end of this week to discuss the continuing Syrian conflict, which has just entered its second year.

A Turkish official confirmed the upcoming meeting with the Reuters news agency and said it will likely take place before Sunday.

The meeting comes as The Guardian reports another 100 people were killed in a Damascus neighborhood by warplane strikes. The death toll in the ongoing conflict has been estimated at 70,000, the United Nations reported.

Mr. Kerry’s stop in Turkey is part of a Western Europe and Asian visit. And his talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be closely watched. The United States sees Turkey as a crucial player for helping rebel fighters oust Syrian President Bashar Assad and implement a new government.

“Mr. Kerry will visit Turkey,” said the unnamed Turkish spokesman in the Reuters report. “The date is not clear yet but possibly it will take place either on Friday or on Saturday.”

The State Department did not comment in the Reuters report.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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