Assad lashes out at Turkey for sheltering terrorists

President Bashir al Assad made perhaps the most ironic statement of the year when he attacked Turkey for supporting rebel and terrorists groups fighting in Syria. From Reuters:

In an interview with Turkey’s Halk TV due to be broadcast later on Friday, Assad called Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan “bigoted” and said Ankara was allowing terrorists to cross into Syria to attack the army and Syrian civilians.

“It is not possible to put terrorism in your pocket and use it as a card because it is like a scorpion which won’t hesitate to sting you at the first opportunity,” Assad said, according to a transcript from Halk TV, which is close to Turkey’s opposition.

“In the near future, these terrorists will have an impact on Turkey and Turkey will pay a heavy price for it.”

Assad is actually right: Countries that attempt to ride the tiger by backing al Qaeda and allied groups have ultimately paid a heavy price. Look no further than Pakistan, which has supported, and continues to support, the Taliban in Afghanistan and a host of local Pakistani jihadist outfits to fight the Indians in Kashmir. These groups have since turned around and bitten the hand that feeds them.

Assad has made the same mistakes. He allowed al Qaeda in Iraq and other Islamist insurgent groups to use Syria as a base to attack US and Iraqi forces from 2003 up until the Syrian insurgency began in 2011. The US grew so frustrated with Assad’s support that it took the unusual step of launching a cross-border raid to decapitate a dangerous facilitation network that operated in eastern Syria in October 2008.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has since morphed into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (or Syria) and the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant; both groups have become dangerous foes and are instrumental in radicalizing the Syrian insurgency. Assad probably never saw this one coming, but he should have.

Welcome to the party, Assad.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Birbal Dhar says:

    I believe Assad is also strategically not attacking the YPG (Kurdish militia) in Syria, because his forces want to target the Al Qaeda coalition that wants to over throw him and also hoping that the Kurds who have some Syrian territory will use this territory to attack Turkey, who also have a Kurdish minority that favours independence. Plus the Kurds just want autonomy in their area and are not interested in travelling to Damascus.

  • irebukeu says:

    Nice article.
    We can clearly see how expensive the cost of intervention really is.
    I too am curious how this ends in Turkey.
    I do not see how a secular Turkey survives this without being caught up in the conflict.
    How can Turkey allow terrorists to freely cross its borders, rest and recoup in Turkey, transit border crossings with weapons while establishing contacts and safe houses the entire time.
    Assad needs all the friends he can get at this point and seems to have at least for now, the nominal support of the minorities in Syria, Christian and Kurd. I have read that Assad evacuated what Kurdish areas he still occupied allowing the YPG to fill the vacuum and in areas where Kurd and SAA are adjacent, there is no combat.
    I am no fan of the Rat Bashar, but do have a definite opinion about al queda. IF there could be one winner let it be on the side of the Christian, the Kurd and the Alawite with or without Bashar and let the victory be total.
    Even in victory the rebuilding of Syrian society will leave Syria occupied for decades.
    I do not however, foresee any victory for anyone in Syria and I see just years of conflict ahead.
    A Libyan future for Syria seems like a nightmare for everyone except al queda.
    Its time we woke up.
    Intervention comes at a cost and in my experience the cost of intervention is always more than we Americans are willing or able to pay.
    Here in America, we have a beast of our own making. With a debt load of 17 Trillion, we don’t even pretend to pay for our interventions past, present or future any longer.
    GOOD LUCK KIDS, forget the piggy banks. Those days are over. Your parents and grandparents broke them.


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