Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has warned that the fall of his regime or the breakup of Syria will unleash a wave of instability that will shake the Middle East for years to come.
Assad told the Turkish TV station Ulusal Kanal that “we are surrounded by countries that help terrorists and allow them to enter Syria.”
He accused Turkey of knowingly supporting rebels but said it is not clear whether Jordan is intentionally backing his opponents.
Assad's interview was aired Friday evening, three days after it was shot in Syria.
He warned that if his government falls or if Syria is divided, it “will have a domino effect” across the region and create “a period of instability for long years and maybe decades.”
Meanwhile, Assad’s close ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the civil war in Syria has become “a massacre” that must be stopped through peace talks between the government and the opposition, and repeated Russia’s firm rejection of calls for the Syrian leader’s ouster.
Speaking to the German ARD television in remarks released by the Kremlin on Friday, he rejected the Western criticism of Russia for continuing to supply weapons to Assad’s regime.
Putin said that such shipments don’t violate international law, and he criticized those who send weapons to the Syrian opposition fighting a “legitimate government.”
Late March, Russia called the Arab League’s decision to award Syria’s seat at the organization to the anti-regime Syrian National Coalition “illegal and indefensible”.
The move also sparked a furious reaction from Damascus.