Assad says Turkey will "pay dearly" for its support of rebels
A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on September 25, 2013 shows President Bashar al-Assad giving a television interview (Image credit: AFP)
In an interview broadcast on Turkish television, Syrian President Bashar Assad warned Turkey will "pay dearly" for supporting rebels fighting to overthrow his regime.
"In the near future these terrorists will have an impact on Turkey. And Turkey will pay very dearly for its contribution," Assad told Halk TV according to AFP.
Damascus and Ankara have historically enjoyed warm relations. However, there has been discord since the uprising began in Syria in March 2011. In that time period, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic government has provided support to the Syrian rebel fighters.
The Turkish Parliament first authorized the use of military force after five Turkish civilians died due to shelling near the Syrian border nearly a year ago.
In addition, Turkey shot down a Syrian helicopter that had strayed into its airspace last month. And just yesterday, the Turkish parliament approved a mandate to send troops into Syria, should the need arise.
Assad admitted the helicopter had violated Turkish airspace, but said it was justified to prevent "the infiltration of a large number of terrorists." The two pilots had been decapitated by rebels when the helicopter came down in Turkish territory.
"It is not possible to use terrorism as a card and put it in your pocket. Because it is like a scorpion which won't hesitate to sting you at any moment," said Assad.