Syria's Assad says 'no word of truth' from Turkish PM
BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
President Bashar al-Assad is seen in this screen grab from Ulusal TV's website.Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of not having said "a single word of truth" about Syria's conflict, in an interview with Turkish media posted on the Internet.
"Erdoğan has not said a single word of truth since the beginning of the crisis in Syria," al-Assad told journalists working for private channel Ulusal and daily Aydınlık.
The interview with al-Assad was conducted on April 2 and is to run on April 5, according to the president's YouTube channel.
Damascus has regularly accused Ankara of financing, training and arming rebels fighting troops loyal to al-Assad. The United Nations says Turkey currently hosts more than 260,000 Syrian refugees.
In another extract from the interview, al-Assad condemned the killing on March 21 of prominent pro-government Sunni cleric Mohammed Saeed al-Bouti as part of a plan to sow "sectarian strife" in Syria.
"There is no doubt that the role of clerics, including Dr. al-Bouti, was key to ensuring the failure of a covert plan to create sectarian strife. That's why they assassinated Dr. al-Bouti," al-Assad said.
The U.N. says more than 70,000 people have been killed in a spiraling war that broke out after the army unleashed a crackdown on a peaceful revolt which morphed into an armed revolt.