Erdoğan an occupier with 'sinister plans', says senior Assad aide

Bouthaina Shaaban says Turkish government has allowed 'Muslim Brotherhood' to wage war in Syria, and is illegally occupying north
Bouthaina Shaaban, Bashar al-Assad's senior adviser.
Friday, 22 September 2017 20:40

Syrian presidential adviser has poured scorn on Turkey's president, claiming Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's sinister plans have allowed terrorist to invade the country and that his own troops are illegal occupiers in the north.

Bouthaina Shaaban also told Middle East Eye in an exclusive interview her government considered US-allied Kurdish forces to be illegitimate. However, she indicated there was no intention in Damascus to confront the Syrian Kurds nor Turkey militarily. 

In an exclusive interview, the top aide to President Bashar al-Assad said: "The Syrian army and its allies are the legitimate forces fighting Islamic State. Any other forces which are not cooperating with the Syrian Arab government and the Syrian army are not legitimate on our land."

Turkey has sent troops into northern Syria close to the border town of Jarablus. Other Turkish personnel are expected shortly in Idlib in northwestern Syria in line with an agreement with Russia and Iran last week to set up a de-escalation zone there. Turkey and Russia will each send 500 personnel to monitor a ceasefire. On Thursday, Erdoğan said Turkey would send troops into Idlib province as part of the de-escalation plan.


Speaking before Erdoğan's announcement, Shaaban said Turkey's president was the origin of many of the region's problems, adding that Turkey's role as an Astana guarantor "doesn't mean that what Turkey is doing in Syria is legal". 

"There's a difference between the Astana process and what Turkey is doing in Syria which is to occupy territory," she underlined, accusing Turkish government, of having played a negative and dangerous role in Syria by allowing terrorists, weapons and money to cross the border. 

She said the majority of remaining jihadists were "Muslim Brothers", whose Syrian branch took up arms against the government in the 1980s in Hama and Aleppo. 

"It's a war that is mainly supported by Turkey because most of those so-called oppositionists who are embraced by Turkey are Muslim Brothers and Erdoğan is a Muslim Brother," she said. "Erdoğan uses these Turks for his religious Brotherhood organisation and I really feel that Europe and the West and the world should be aware of these sinister plans of Erdogan," Bouthaina Shaaban added.