Syrian President Bashar Assad said that the downing of Russia’s bomber over Syria has revealed Ankara’s real interests in the war on ISIS.
Assad told Czech Television that he believes the Turkish President Erdogan “lost his nerves” as Russia “changed the balance” on the ground.
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Assad also said that US air strikes on Syria had not slowed ISIS, but that Russian bombing were doing so.
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“The failure of [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan in Syria, the failure of his terrorist groups means his political demise, so he wanted to do anything in order to put obstacles in front of any success,” Assad said. “So, he did it, but I do not think it will change any balance. The war against terrorism is continuing.”
At the same time, the Syrian President said he does not think the incident over Syria would affect peace talks in the war-torn country.
“I think it has shown the relentlessness of Erdogan who, let us say, lost his nerves just because the Russian intervention has changed the balance on the ground,” Assad pointed out, praising the “Russian supportive participation” which is “going to be stronger.”
“I think there is no way back on that regard, whether he does it again, this way or another way,” he added.
Turkey, which backs the US and its coalition allies’ demand for President Assad to leave, has been insisting that it downed the Russian Su-24 bomber because the jet had violated its airspace for “17 seconds.” It also maintains that the jet’s crew had been warned prior to the attack. Moscow has repeatedly denied Ankara’s accusations, saying that the Turkish F-16 attacked the Su-24 without warning and over the Syrian territory. The surviving Russian pilot, Konstantin Murakhtin, confirmed that neither he nor Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov, who was killed by Turkmen rebel machine gun fire after ejecting, had received any radio or visual warning from the Turkish F-16.
President Assad named Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar as the major stumbling blocks in the fight not only against ISIS, but also terrorism in general.
He blamed the “regional powers” and the West for supporting terrorists and making “Syria a hub for terrorism.”