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Syria ratchets up tension with Turkey - warning it of dangers of rebel support

Syria ratchets up tension with Turkey - warning it of dangers of rebel support
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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has warned Turkey that it will pay a heavy price for backing the rebels fighting to topple his leadership.

Describing his Turkish counterpart as “bigoted”, Assad accused Ankara of allowing terrorists to cross over from Turkey into Syria.

“Turkey will pay a heavy price,” Assad said. “It is not possible to put terrorism in your pocket and use it like a card. It is like a scorpion which won’t hesitate to sting you at the first opportunity.”

The Turkish parliament this week voted to prolong an order that allows Turkish troops to enter Syria should the government think it necessary.

Turkey shares a 900 kilometre border with Syria and the government has described the threat from chemical weapons as “imminent and serious”.

During the debate, Member of Parliament, Muhammed Bilal Macit, expressed concerns over whether Turkey could cope with more asylum seekers from Syria.

“This will create additional pressure on the nation,” he said.

Tension between the two countries has been rising in recent weeks. In the middle of last month, a car bomb exploded on the Syrian side of a border crossing with Turkey, killing seven and injuring 20 in an area controlled by Syrian rebels.

Previously Turkish troops shot down a Syrian government helicopter.

Assad accused the Turks of stoking up tensions between the two countries.

Turkey claims the helicopter had entered its airspace.