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INTERNATIONAL > PKK, al-Qaeda control Syria-Turkey border: Al-Assad

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Syria’s President al-Assad (L) speaks with CHP lawmaker Akgöl. DHA photo

Syria’s President al-Assad (L) speaks with CHP lawmaker Akgöl. DHA photo

Nearly 75 percent of the Syria-Turkey border is controlled by al-Qaeda, while the rest is controlled by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told a delegation from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on March 7, daily Cumhuriyet has reported.

The three-member group, which consisted of deputy leader Şafak Pavey and two lawmakers from the neighboring Hatay province, Hasan Akgöl and Mevlut Dudu, was in Syria following an invitation from al-Assad.

“Almost 75 percent of the Syrian border with Turkey is under the control of al-Qeada while 25 percent of controlled by the PKK,” al-Assad told the group, according to the report. “We were not involved in the attack at the Cilvegözü border, because we are not present on that border. Al-Qeada has total control of it,” he added.

A car explosion killed 13 people at the Cilvegözü border gate last month.

The Syrian president also said that the Syrian crisis had become a “reason for existence” for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. “This crisis has an ideological dimension too. If Syria wins, they will lose. They want to make political Islam dominant in Syria, but we want to protect secularism,” al-Assad reportedly said.

The embattled leader also admitted that he is unable to control the entire country due to what he described as “terrorist incidents.” “I’m focused on the big cities. There is no problem in the western part of the country, but we encounter difficulties on the Turkish and Jordan borders,” the daily quoted him as saying.

Al-Assad also touched on the establishment of a possible Kurdish state in the region. “The chance of Kurds establishing a state has increased. Kurds in Syria and Iraq come together. The establishment of a Kurdish state is just a matter of time,” he said.

March/08/2013

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