Published on Apr 5, 2013

Syrian President Bashar Assad warned in comments broadcast Friday April 5, 2013 that the fall of the Syrian government or the breakup of his nation will cause a “domino effect” that will fuel Middle East instability for years, in his sharpest warning yet about the potential fallout of his country’s civil war on neighboring states.

In an interview with the Turkish TV station Ulusal Kanal broadcast Friday, Syrian President Assad accused his neighbors of stoking the revolt against his government, saying “we are surrounded by countries that help terrorists and allow them to enter Syria.” But he warned that those same countries may eventually pay a price down the road.

“Everybody knows that if the disturbances in Syria reach the point of the country’s breakup, or terrorist forces control Syria, or if the two cases happen, then this will immediately spill over into neighboring countries first, and later there will be a domino effect that will reach countries across the Middle East,” he said.

He also lashed out at Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was a close ally of Assad before the crisis began but then turned into one of his harshest critics.

“When the prime minister (Erdogan), or the government or officials get involved in shedding Syrian people’s blood there is no place for bridges between me and them or the Syrian people that don’t respect them,” Assad said.

Turkey has been one of the strongest backers of the Syrian Islamist “opposition,” and has provided it with logistical support and shelter.

“The Arab League lacks legitimacy. It’s a league that represents the Arab states, not the Arab people, so it can’t grant or retract legitimacy,” he also stated in reference to the recent move by the league to give Syria’s seat to the Doha coalition headed by Moaz al-Khatib.

The president also used the interview to quash rumors that he had been killed by one of his guards in the capital Damascus.

Asked by a journalist whether he is still alive, Assad told Ulusal Kanal: “I am present in front of you and not in a shelter. These are mere rumors.”

He said he is living as usual in Syria and is not hiding in underground shelters.

Source: Ulusal Kanal

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