Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of not having said “a single word of truth” about Syria’s conflict, in an interview with Turkish media posted on the web.
“Erdogan has not said a single word of truth since the beginning of the crisis in Syria,” Assad told journalists working for Turkish television Ulusal and Aydinlik newspaper.
Turkey is a key backer of the Syrian revolt that broke out in March 2011.
Damascus has regularly accused Ankara of financing, training and arming rebels fighting troops loyal to Assad. The UN says Turkey currently hosts more than 260,000 Syrian refugees.
The interview with Assad was conducted on Tuesday and is to run on Friday, according to the president’s YouTube channel.
In another extract from the interview, Assad condemned the killing on March 21 of prominent pro-regime 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 Bouti, was key to ensuring the failure of a covert plan to create sectarian strife. That’s why they assassinated Dr Bouti,” Assad said.
The UN says more than 70,000 people have been killed in a spiralling war that broke out after the army unleashed a crackdown on a peaceful revolt which morphed into an armed revolt.