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MIDEAST > Turkey will 'pay dearly' for rebel support, al-Assad warns

ANKARA - Agence France-Presse

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Italian television station RaiNews24 in Damascus in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Italian television station RaiNews24 in Damascus in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned Turkey it would "pay dearly" for supporting rebels fighting to overthrow his regime, in an interview broadcast Friday on Turkish television.

"In the near future these terrorists will have an impact on Turkey. And Turkey will pay very dearly for its contribution," al-Assad told the opposition station Halk TV.

He was being interviewed over the presence of al-Qaeda-linked rebels on the long and volatile border between the two nations. There are several hardline Islamist groups among the numerous rebel formations fighting in Syria.

"It is not possible to use terrorism as a card and put it in your pocket. Because it is like a scorpion which won't hesitate to sting you at any moment," said al-Assad.

Relations between once close allies Damascus and Ankara have deteriorated since a popular uprising which began in March 2011 in Syria snowballed into a full-blown conflict that has claimed more than 115,000 lives and forced millions to flee.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government has become one of the most fervent supporters of the Syrian rebellion.

"All that he says about Syria and its people is a heap of lies, that is all ... Erdoğan is doing nothing but supporting the terrorists," said al-Assad.

Turkey downs Syrian helicopter

On Sept. 17, Turkey downed a Syrian military helicopter that it said had violated its airspace, in a move Damascus said was aimed at heightening tensions between the two countries.

Al-Assad admitted the helicopter had violated Turkish airspace, but said this was justified to prevent "the infiltration of a large number of terrorists." He said the two pilots had been "savagely decapitated" by Syrian rebels who captured them when the helicopter came down on Syrian territory.

The Turkish Parliament on Thursday extended for one year a mandate that would allow the country to send troops to Syria if necessary.

Turkey authorised military action against Syria shortly after a mortar attack fired from the neighbouring territory killed five of its civilians in October last year.

Since then, the Turkish military has retaliated in kind for every Syrian shell that has landed on its soil.

October/04/2013

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american american

10/5/2013 4:43:31 PM

correct dniz, but turkey has no problem doing business with china...which has been controlled by the same families since the late 40s.

JRC JRC

10/5/2013 10:57:17 AM

Turkey will have to figure out how to deal with what is becoming almost certain, that Assad will still be in power for many years to come.

Not Here

10/5/2013 9:21:47 AM

They are all savages.. Assad, his military, and the rebels. If any of them had any humanity, they would not be cutting heads off of captured soldier, cutting out hearts, eating them, or using gas to kill innocent people as they sleep. If any of them were human, they would not be bombing as people wait in line for bread! They are all savages, starting with the greedy, power-hungry Assad. He should go and then later, the rest should be dealt with. None of them are good for that country. Savages

dennis kavaz

10/5/2013 7:33:01 AM

Mr Assad and his family has been Syria’s landlord over 40 years, and their recipes has been “Syria is mine” & what’s yours “is mine too” in addition if any one complained however, the Assad’s accused them of being poor patriots “a traitors” and consequently they were beaten up, imprisoned or killed; Yeah some of Mr Assad’s accusations “may be true” however is he ultimately telling the whole truth?.

Red Tail

10/5/2013 7:25:20 AM

rizlove. No matter how much we dislike Assad, it is always a good idea to keep facts right, or what you right will not be seen as trust worthy. You write "How is this guy able to talk after massacring millions of his own countrymen ". He has not killed millions. From what I understand around 100 000 people have been killed in total. We do not know how many have been killed by the rebels or Assad forces. We do not know how many are soldiers (Assads or rebels) and how many are civilians.

Grey Wolf

10/5/2013 1:23:26 AM

Okay, time to finish assad

Italiano In Ankara

10/4/2013 11:33:38 PM

Majority of the comments are quite unrelated with the articol. I belive Assad will remain in power with a 90% probability. Sooner or later the war will scale down to pure terrorism as Syria is well armed and now even USA and Iran spoke each other. So what's next ? I see only problem for Turkey unless turkish people understand to ditch AKP for their own good.

Zareh Sahakian

10/4/2013 10:38:39 PM

Turkey should learn by now that it interferes in other's countries affaires at its own risk...and peril. Egypt proved a big miscalculation. Gaza proved a disingenuous "shedding of tears", having Israel as a strategic and long-term military partner fools no Arab observer. Syria, Turkish designs on putting in place an Ankara-obedient regime now has backfired big-time. Dreams of "controlling" Syrian Kurds have equally evaporated. Now long-term multiple security threats will knock on Ankara's doors.

Joshua Bronxman

10/4/2013 9:30:17 PM

"It is not possible to use terrorism as a card and put it in your pocket. Because it is like a scorpion which won't hesitate to sting you at any moment," said al-Assad. He ought to know. Syria allowed free passage to al-Qaida during the US-Iraq war. AQ is just returning the favor.

Arnold Yesovitch

10/4/2013 9:00:57 PM

Roger Harding- I read the report twice to be sure I did not miss the mention of Israel and I did not. Israel is not mentioned in the story. Yet you had to throw Israel into your post in a "bad light" I presume because you have a bias against Israel.
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