Assad to host Sarkozy, Turkey, Qatar leaders

Syrian President Bashar Assad is looking to rebuild some trust with the West, and this week French President Nicolas Sarkozy, along with other US allies, are testing out whether new warmth with Damascus can bring progress in Mideast peace efforts. Sarkozy's visit is a reward to Assad for a recent sign of flexibility - his agreement in August to establish diplomatic ties with Lebanon, a longstanding demand of the Lebanese and the West. Sarkozy, the prime minister of Turkey and the emir of Qatar will hold a joint summit with Assad in Damascus on Thursday, hoping to sound out whether the cautious good feelings can be built on, at a time when Syria is engaged in indirect peace negotiations with Israel.