• In this Oct. 20, 2015 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, shakes hand with Syrian President Bashar Assad as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, looks on, at the Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia. For five years fighting has raged in Syria -- a globally resonant nightmare kept going in part by the insistence of Bashar Assad’s opponents that he must go even though they were failing to dislodge him from power. Now an inflection point may finally be at hand, with increasingly important Turkey suggesting Assad could play a role in an unspecified transition period. (Alexei Druzhinin, RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

    Analysis: Turkey’s potentially momentous shift on Assad

    CAIRO (AP) — For five years fighting has raged in Syria — a humanitarian disaster destabilizing the region and the world. The aim of Bashar Assad’s opponents always was to drive the Syrian leader from power, but they have lacked the means to dislodge him. Now an inflection point may be at hand, with powerful opposition backer Turkey suggesting Assad, despite his brutality in the war, could play a role in an unspecified transition period.