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Middle East

Syrians protest in Damascus backing Turkey demos

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian protesters hold up Turkish and Arabic placards that read, "Erdogan: your days are over," and others denouncing the Turkish government. (AP Photo/SANA)

DAMASCUS: Dozens of Syrians gathered in the capital Damascus on Tuesday for a rare demonstration in support of Turkish protests against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"Erdogan leave," the demonstrators chanted, waving Syrian flags and pictures of President Bashar al-Assad in front of the Turkish embassy in Damascus.

The demonstration was a rare public protest in Syria, which has been roiled for more than two years now by a conflict that began with peaceful demonstrations calling for regime change.

Those demonstrations, which began in March 2011, were forcibly put down, with Syrian security forces firing on unarmed protesters.

But the protest movement in Turkey has been embraced by the Syrian regime, which has seen once-warm ties with Erdogan's government disintegrate over Ankara's support for the Syrian uprising.

"American military bases (in Turkey) are incapable of protecting that arrogant sultan," one demonstrator, Abdel Salam Harrash, told Syrian state television.

The station described the demonstrations as "against Erdogan's policy, which is hostile to freedom and supports terrorists acting in Syria".

The Syrian government routinely describes all those involved in the anti-Assad uprising as "terrorists," and has strongly criticised Ankara for supporting the rebellion.

 

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