Assad and Erdogan in better days
Syrian President Bashar Assad lashed out at his Turkish critics on Saturday, remarking that "some in Turkey are still clinging to the dream of reinstating the Ottoman Empire."
The Turkish leaders, he added, "Know that this dream is impossible, so they are trying to exploit parties with a religious agenda to expand their influence on the Arab world."
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Speaking to the Arabic-language website Arab Press, Assad called on his supporters not to vandalize any Turkish symbols: "I ask you – don't burn Turkish flags. The Turkish people are a proud nation."
Earlier this week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the diplomatic crisis between Damascus and Ankara was of Assad's own making.
Turkey, he said, is "considering its options" vis-à-vis Syria, including imposing a no-fly zone and border buffer-zones.
Assad further lashed out at other Arab nations: "Those among our brothers who are showing us animosity will seek our forgiveness when the crisis is over," he said, referring to the Arab League's decision to suspend Syria following its failure to implement the League's plan to end the unrest sweeping through the county.
"Syria will not abide conspiracies," Assad hinted. "Once we emerge victorious from the current campaign, do not expect us to just sit idle by."
Assad has ignored an Arab League deadline to accept international observers to oversee an initiative. The pan-Arab organization's foreign ministers are set to meet later on Saturday to discuss imposing additional sanctions on the rogue leader's regime.
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