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Assad Blames Turkey for the Violence in His Country

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claims that Turkey is to blame for violence in the 17-month-old uprising in his country.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/30/2012, 4:44 AM

File photo of Assad and Erdogan at a news conference
File photo of Assad and Erdogan at a news conference
Reuters

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday blamed Turkey for violence in the 17-month-old uprising in his country, in which thousands have died, Al-Arabiya reported.

“Turkey bears direct responsibility for the blood being shed in Syria,” the network quoted Assad as having said in an interview with the pro-regime local television channel Ad-Dounia.

He added that the talk of a Western-imposed buffer zone on Syrian territory was unrealistic and that the situation in his country was “better.”

“Talk of buffer zones firstly is not on the table and secondly it is an unrealistic idea by hostile countries and the enemies of Syria,” Assad said.

He added that his government had been aware some officials were trying to defect and allowed them to leave unhindered.

“Sometimes we had information (on defections) and we would discuss it. Some would suggest we stop them. But we said no, stopping them isn't the right thing to do, letting them leave is the right thing to do ... let's facilitate their exit,” he said.

Assad added that such officials should be allowed to leave because it was “cleaning” the state of unpatriotic officials.

As he has done in previous interviews, Assad once again denied that there is an uprising in his country, claiming that “What is happening is neither a revolution nor a Spring, it is about terrorist acts in every sense of the term.”

In excerpts of the interview released on Tuesday, Assad claimed that the situation in the torn country is improving.

He said that it will take some time until the military campaign in the country is completed, adding that the regime is making progress and the improvement can already be felt.

“We are in the midst of a global and regional war,” said Assad, “so it is no wonder that it takes a long time to finish it.”

Assad’s remarks come as the 17-month-old civil war in the country continues to claim more and more victims.

On Monday, Syrian rebels showed a video of a Russian-made Syrian army chopper in flames after it was hit over Damascus. It dived into the ground amid shouts of “Allah is Great."

Last week, rebels said they shot down another helicopter, providing indications that they have acquired anti-aircraft weapons and surface-to-air missiles as the bloody and savage civil war drags on and the number of massacres rises.

Over the weekend, the Syrian army was accused of committing a massacre in the town of Darya, outside the capital Damascus, when 300 bodies were found on Saturday.

Iran, meanwhile, has publicly confirmed that its government has sent elite Revolutionary Guards to support the Assad’s troops in that country's civil war.

Commander Gneral Salar Abnoush told a group of volunteer trainees during a speech delivered Monday, “We are involved in fighting every aspect of a war – a military one in Syria, and a cultural one as well.”