Assad blames Turkey for bloodshed
BEIRUT - Reuters
File photo of Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan and Syria's President Bashar al-Assad attending a news conference in Istanbul. REUTERS photoSyrian President Bashar al-Assad blamed the Turkish government yesterday for violence in a 17-month-old uprising in the country, in which thousands have died.
"Turkey bears direct responsibility for the blood being shed in Syria," Assad told the local television channel Addounia.
Regime was aware of defections
Assad also said that his government had been aware some officials were trying to defect and allowed them to leave unhindered.
"Sometimes we had information [on defections] and we would discuss it. Some would suggest we stop them. But we said no, stopping them isn't the right thing to do, letting them leave is the right thing to do ... let's facilitate their exit," he told Syria's Addounia TV.
Assad, who is struggling to put down a 17-month-old revolt, said such officials should be allowed to leave because it was "cleaning" the state of unpatriotic officials.