Speaking to reports en route to his return from the United Nations General Assembly, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Syrian President Bashar Assad, saying he had lied about the number of political prisoners being held in Syrian prisons.
Erdogan went on to say Assad had not been sincere with his promises to lift the state of emergency, and said he expects the Syrian opposition council to open an office in Turkey within a week.
It is believed the move will be a further step toward Turkey cutting all bilateral ties with its longtime ally, reflecting the growing annoyance at the refugee crisis on their mutual border as well as Syria’s apparent lack of any concrete strategy of how to move beyond the protest movement.
Syria insists that unnamed Western governments are secretly behind the protest movement, and has repeatedly claimed the pro-democracy protesters are actually terrorists. In actuality, of course, a large number of the victims have been innocent demonstrators.
Increasingly, however, members of Syria’s military are defecting. At least four of the defectors were reported slain today in northern Syria, near the Turkish border.