US skips ‘terrorist’ label for Assad

US skips ‘terrorist’ label for Assad

US skips ‘terrorist’ label for Assad

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks during an interview. AP Photo

The deputy spokesperson for the U.S. Secretary of State chose not to use the word “terrorist” for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a press briefing on Oct. 8, adding that she would however “use every term in the book to describe how bad of a person he is.”

When asked about Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s labeling of the Syrian president as “a terrorist,” Marie Harf said Assad had lost all his legitimacy, but the spokesperson refrained from calling him a terrorist.

“I think we have been perfectly clear that Assad has lost legitimacy. He’s a brutal dictator who’s killed over 100,000 of his people, and that he has to go, period,” Harf said.

“I’m not going to use [terrorist], but I think I can use every term in the book to describe how bad of a person he is, how destructive of a leader he is for his own people, and how he has no legitimacy to govern going forward,” she added.

Erdoğan had recently called Assad a terrorist, saying, “I don’t regard Bashar al-Assad as a politician any more. He is a terrorist carrying out state terrorism. A person who killed 110,000 of his people is a terrorist.”

The prime minister made his comments after being reminded of a recent interview with Assad from dissident media outlets Halk TV and daily Yurt, where Assad warned that Turkey would “pay dearly” for supporting rebels fighting to “overthrow his regime.”

“In the near future, these terrorists will have an impact on Turkey. Turkey will pay very dearly for its contribution,” he said.

Assad particularly expressed harsh criticism against Erdoğan, accusing him of “lying” and “supporting terrorists.”