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July 04, 2012

Assad Accuses Turkey of Contributing to Bloodshed in Syria

by VOA News

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accused neighboring Turkey of supporting "terrorists" and contributing to the bloodshed in Syria.

The Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet quoted Assad as saying Turkey gave logistical support and had a desire to interfere in Syria's internal affairs.

In the remarks published Wednesday, Assad also accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of pursuing a sectarian agenda.  Both Turkey and Syria are majority Sunni-Muslim countries, but Assad and much of his ruling party are from the minority Alawite sect, an off-shoot of Shi'ite Islam.

The newspaper on Tuesday published the first part of its interview with Assad, in which he said he regrets that his force shot down a Turkish military jet last month.  He insisted the plane was flying in Syrian airspace that had been used by Israeli planes three times.

Turkey says the jet entered Syrian airspace by mistake and had flown back to international airspace before Syria shot it down on June 22.