Bashar al-Assad - Reuters
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who has been facing a bloody uprising sought asylum in Venezuela, according to a Turkish daily report.
Speculations have been doing the rounds for the past several months about a desperate Assad seeking asylum in many countries including Russia and Latin American countries.
Moscow had denied such claims but latest reports quote Venezuelan officials as confirming Assad's request.
According to the Turkish daily Akşam, the Venezuelan foreign ministry had told Ankara's diplomats that Assad had sent a letter to Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez seeking political asylum.
Venezuela is one of the few countries where Assad continues to enjoy a good relationship evidently due to the anti-Americanism of both the countries.
However, it is not yet clear if Venezuela has acceded to Assad's request. Caracas had earlier acknowledged the "longstanding personal fraternity" between Chavez and Assad.
Iran, Syria's another strong supporter, also enjoys a strong relationship with Venezuela which includes sharing drone technology.
Though Venezuelan officials confirmed the letter sent by Assad to their Turkish counterparts during the latter's visit, they refused to reveal the exact contents, according to the Turkish daily.
Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mokdad who visited many Latin American countries earlier this month admitted that he had taken a "private message" for Chavez from Assad but did not say what it was.
Earlier this year, oil-rich Venezuela had sent diesel shipments to Syria as it was facing an acute shortage of fuel because of western sanctions.
"If they need diesel, and we can provide it, there is no reason not to do it. We cannot determine our foreign policy with fear of US sanctions. We have said that those truly don't matter to us," Venezuela's energy minister Rafael Ramirez had said.
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