Assad slams Ankara’s Syria policy
MOSCOW / BEIRUT
Syria President Bashar al-Assad addresses reporters following his meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Thursday Dec. 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)Syrian President Bashar al-Assad described the Turkish government’s policy towards his country as “the dreams of some people who think they are very smart,” in an interview with Russian state broadcaster Russia 24.
Al-Assad said no good would come to Turkey from the policy the country was currently following, daily Hürriyet reported yesterday.
“We have no contact with the Turkish government, but we did not cut dialogue with other political circles in the country,” al-Assad said, hinting at an ongoing dialogue with parties other than Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). “Our opinion about the realities in Syria coincides with these circles. These politicians are aware of the danger. They are aware of the risk that the negative incidents in Syria will manifest as chaos and terror in Turkey in the future.” Al-Assad said some politicians in Turkey were “carried away by dreams.” He said “there are those among them who think themselves to be very smart. You may be very smart, you may be using a state-of-the-art computer, but your efforts will be in vain if you try to run an obsolete program on it.” Al-Assad claimed weapons were being smuggled into Syria from Turkey and Lebanon, but added that there was currently no evidence to prove that these activities were done with the Turkish government’s support.
Al-Assad also insisted his regime was fighting back against foreign mercenaries who want to overthrow him, not innocent Syrians aspiring for democracy in a yearlong uprising, the Associated Press reported.
“There are foreign mercenaries, some of them still alive,” al-Assad said. “They are being detained and we are preparing to show them to the world.”
Al-Assad also cautioned against meddling in Syria, warning neighboring nations that have served as transit points for contraband weapons being smuggled into the country that “if you sow chaos in Syria you may be infected by it yourself.” He did not elaborate, but rebels say Syrian forces have mined many of the smuggling routes on which weapons flow into Syria, mainly from Turkey and Lebanon.
Sectarian clashes kill one in Lebanese city
Fresh sectarian clashes erupted between the pro-Syrian regime Jabal Mohsen district and anti-regime Bab al-Tebbaneh district in the north Lebanon port city of Tripoli yesterday, leaving one person dead and seven wounded, a security official said. By midday, the situation was calm, although sporadic gunfire could be heard, Agence France-Presse reported.
At least 30 shells smashed into Rastan after midnight, said activists. Clashes between residents of the two districts earlier this week left nine people dead and some 50 wounded.
Meanwhile, two Iranians, Qanbar Beedroomi and Ahad Sohrabi Kordabadi, kidnapped in Syria in December and freed with the help of Turkish mediation, arrived in Tehran yesterday, the official IRNA news agency reported. Eight Syrians wounded in the north-western city of Idlib’s Hanseyhun district were also brought to Turkey for treatment on May 16, Anatolia news agency reported. In addition, some 19 Syrians entered Turkey through the southern province of Hatay’s Yayladağı town yesterday.