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President Bashar al-Assad at interview in June (SANA)
President Bashar al-Assad at interview in June (SANA)

President al-Assad says Ankara seeks to legitimize its support to the armed groups in Syria

Turkey- In an interview published Friday in the Turkish newspaper Aydinlik, Syria`s President Basher al-Assad denied Turkish accusations that Syria was aiding militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also known by its Kurdish acronym PKK, an armed separatist group in Turkey’s southeast.

Syria does not support the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, President al-Assad declared in the interview. He said that the Turkish government brought these charges because it itself supported groups of criminals in Syria.

“The Turkish government is circulating these claims to legitimize its support to armed groups” fighting the government, President al-Assad said, according to the newspaper.

President al-Assad said that Damascus continued the investigation of circumstances of how a Syrian mortar shell fell on Turkish territory. This investigation would benefit from cooperation with Turkey which sadly is not the case, the Syrian president said.

Al-Assad also considers the Syrian and Turkish people to be fraternal nations and believes that problems in relations between the two countries are caused by the position of Ankara which supports the Syrian opposition and calls for resignation of the legitimate government, according to the newspaper.

Press reports said Friday that President al-Assad sought to calm tensions with Ankara, describing Syria and Turkey as brothers in the interview published at the newspaper. He insisted Turkey had ''no reason to go to war'' over the cross-border clashes.

''We should work on this issue together,'' President al-Assad told the Turkish newspaper.

''In times like this, countries should correct their mistakes by talking to each other.'' President al-Assad added.

In part II of the interview with the Turkish newspaper, published Saturday, President al-Assad said that” a great number of Turks have joined the terrorists groups which have been fighting against the Syrian people”. President added, “Syria does not support the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), pointing out that the Turkish Government had fired such allegations to legitimize its support to the armed groups”.

“When we used to have fine connections, relations with Turkey, they did not point at such accusations; backing up the Kurdistan Workers party,” President al-Assad indicated.

Syria`s President Bashar al-Assad added that, “When tensions break out with the Turkish Government, Ankara has operated with the armed groups, which have been committing the crimes in Syria, starting to bring out such claims in order to receive support for Turkish public opinion for these groups”.

 “I don’t believe that the Turkish people might believe this”. President Bashar Al-Assad added.

Syria crisis has triggered new international tensions when the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayipp Erdogan, accused Russia of directly supplying munitions to Bashar al-Assad's government, after Turkish jets intercepted a plane en route from Moscow to Damascus.

Turkish media reports said the cargo confiscated from the plane before it was allowed to leave Ankara included radios, antennae and equipment ''thought to be missile parts''. Syria immediately condemned the Turkish action as piracy.

Turkey has also beefed up its military defenses on its border with Syria over the past weeks, stationing tanks, anti-aircraft missiles, and additional troops in the area.

Tensions have been running high between Syria and Turkey, with Damascus accusing Turkey -- along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar -- of backing a deadly insurgency that has claimed the lives of many Syrians, including security and army personnel.

In an interview with the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet in July, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Ankara “has supplied all logistic support to the terrorists who have killed our people.”
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