Assad calls Erdogan an ‘Islamist fanatic’

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ‘an Islamist fanatic’ in an interview to be released on Monday.

The scathing attack on his Turkish counterpart was launched less than three weeks after Russia brokered a deal between the two parties to end the ongoing crisis in the Kurdish areas in northeast Syria.

The disparaging comments on Russian government-funded Russia Today were released on Saturday as Syrian government forces clashed with Turkish-backed Islamists rebels in northeast Syria, leaving a number of senior Syrian officers dead.

Assad, who is believed to have won the civil war now in its eighth year thanks to unwavering support from Iran and Russia, has become increasingly emboldened in statements against his foes in recent months.

“The relation between Erdogan and the EU is two-ways,” Assad said when asked about the Turkish threats to flood Europe with migrants. “They hate him but they want him. They hate him [because] they know that he is a fanatic Islamist, they know this, they know that he is going to send them those extremists or maybe terrorists. ”