Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the Turkish president may be using the recent coup attempt in Turkey to eliminate his opponents in government institutions
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the Turkish president may be using the recent coup attempt in Turkey to eliminate his opponents in government institutions.
Assad was speaking at a Sunday meeting with a visiting delegation of Lebanese politicians headed by Najah Wakim, the president of the Lebanese People’s Movement, in the Syrian capital, Damascus, according to Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar.
Referring to the recent developments in Turkey, Assad said there is no clear picture of what is going on in Turkey yet and there are many speculations about the coup attempt.
“One cannot ignore the possibility that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, is using these developments to eliminate his opponents in Turkey’s military, judicial and political institutions,” Assad said in his Sunday remarks, according to Al-Akhbar.
Various Turkish officials, including Erdogan, have said those deemed to have played a role in the coup attempt will pay a heavy price. The crackdown that has been launched in Turkey following the coup, including the mass arrests of suspects, has raised international concern.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Assad referred to the armed conflict in his own country and said the fate of Syria will have to be determined on the battlefield.
“In the ongoing battle on Syrian soil, no compromise can be made because armed groups that are being managed by foreign parties can only be handled with the military,” the Syrian president said.
He also expressed gratitude for Iran as well as the Lebanese resistance movement of Hezbollah for their assistance to the Syrian government and people in the fight against terror.
Assad said political, diplomatic, military and security cooperation continues firmly between his government and that of Russia.
The Syrian president also said Western governments have had secret contacts with his government seeking security cooperation and even the opening of security missions in Damascus.
He said Syria has informed them that it will accept security cooperation with those governments only if they restore normal ties with Damascus.
“Some countries and Arab parties have secret contacts with us and say explicitly that they do not publicize their stances toward the Syrian developments lest the US and Saudi Arabia are angered,” President Assad said.