Turkey hints at normalization of ties with Syria

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Turkey's prime minister has suggested his country wants to normalize ties with Syria in what would mark an about-turn in policy amid a broad diplomatic offensive.

Binali Yildirim said in a televised address Wednesday that Turkey is expanding its circle of friends, adding: "I am sure that we will return (our) ties with Syria to normal. We need it."

The statement follows the restoration of diplomatic ties with Russia and Israel. Ankara cut ties with Syrian President Bashar Assad after a popular uprising erupted in 2011.

Turkey, which borders Syria, is now is home 2.75 million Syrian refugees. It has served as a base to political representatives of the Syrian opposition and various rebel groups seeking to unseat Assad.