Syrian president to visit Turkey for Mideast talks

A Syrian official said President Bashar Assad will visit Turkey on Wednesday for talks that will touch on the stalled peace process between Syria and Israel. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he is willing to help restart those negotiations, which were conducted through Turkish mediators last year. Israel and Syria held four rounds of indirect talks, but the contacts broke down and have not been revived since a more hardline government came to power in Israel in March. Turkey is also trying to defuse a recent spat between Syria and Iraq triggered by Iraqi allegations that Damascus has been used as a launching pad for violence in Iraq. Syria has denied the charges. The official spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity in accordance with government guidelines.