Report: Turkey to demand Assad's brother step down as Syria commander
Syrian leader Bashar Assad has reportedly used Syria's vast security apparatus, including the army division led by his brother Maher Assad, to quell the massive anti-government uprising.
Turkey has dispatched a special envoy to Syria with a letter requesting the removal of Maher Assad from his position of command over Syria's Fourth Division and Presidential Guards, Al Arabiya reported on Saturday.
According to the report, Turkey wants to clarify the opinion that even if reforms by President Bashar Assad are accepted, a decisive majority of the Syrian people are not ready to accept Bashar's brother Maher's military activities and command.
President Assad has used Syria's vast security apparatus, including the army division led by his brother Maher Assad, to try and quell the uprising during which over 1,000 anti-government protesters have reportedly been killed.
The Al Arabiya report says that in the letter, Turkey demands a series of reforms, among them the freedom to protest, freedom of expression, the lifting of a ban on creating political parties, and an end to the 1980 law making membership in the Muslim Brotherhood group an offense punishable by death.
Turkey has offered to take in Maher Assad should he step down from his position or otherwise to find him a place of refuge in one of the European countries. The letter promises Maher Assad and his cronies that they will not be persecuted after they step down.