Assad: remove me and risk instability

Middle East will be unstable for decades if rebels take Syria, says Assad

Syrian leader warns of domino effect and accuses Arab neighbours of sheltering rebels who seek to overthrow him

Bashar al-Assad has called Turkey’s leaders ‘foolish and immature’ for helping Syrian rebels who seek his removal from power. Photograph: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images

The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, has warned that the Middle East faces being destabilised for decades if rebel forces battling to overthrow him succeed.

Assad, locked in a two-year conflict he says has been fuelled by his regional enemies, also criticised Turkey’s “foolish and immature” leaders and accused Arab neighbours of arming and sheltering rebel fighters.

“If the unrest in Syria leads to the partitioning of the country, or if the terrorist forces take control … the situation will inevitably spill over into neighbouring countries and create a domino effect throughout the Middle East and beyond,” he said in an interview with Turkish television.

Turmoil would spread “east, west, north and south. This will lead to a state of instability for years and maybe decades to come,” Assad said in the interview, posted by the Syrian presidency on the internet.

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Opinion:

The chances are that the Middle East will become destabilised, but Syria will be rid of a despot who is determined to kill as many of his countrymen as necessary to cling to his power.

The figure of 70,000 has been bandied about for more than two months now, with many days seeing 100+ up to 170 being killed daily, the true figure must be broaching 90,000, if not more.

The sooner Bashar al-Bastard is gone, the better for Syria. But the worrying factor is the Jihadist groups who have jumped on the bandwagon; they will be the destabilising factor, not the legitimate Syrian rebels.

 

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