Assad tells Russian TV Erdogan thinks hes a caliph

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Assad said that the mentality of Erdogan -- who leads the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) -- was to blame for collapse of relations between the Damascus regime and Ankara.

Erdogan has shifted his policy on Syria from “zero problems to zero friends,” said Assad, who noted that he last spoke with Erdogan in May 2011.

Assad accused Erdogan of wanting the Muslim Brotherhood to take over the Middle East region so that “he (Erdogan) can guarantee his political future.”

Tensions between Ankara and Damascus flared particularly after a Turkish fighter jet was brought down by Syrian fire in June, killing two pilots, and further deteriorated last month when Syrian cross-border shelling killed five Turkish civilians.

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