Erdogan: Assad has surpassed his father in massacres
ALGIERS - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, facing unprecedented popular protests at home, charged on Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has committed atrocities worse than those attributed to his notorious father.
"Assad has surpassed his father in crimes and massacres, and it is not possible to forgive that. He will have to pay the price sooner or later," Erdogan said during a speech in to the parliament in Algeria, which he is visiting on a four-day tour of North Africa.
The regime of Assad's late father and predecessor Hafez al-Assad crushed a Muslim Brotherhood uprising in the central city of Hama in 1982, killing between 10,000 and 40,000 people.
The 26-month civil war now raging in Syria, which began after a popular uprising was brutally suppressed, has cost more than 94,000 lives, according to one monitoring group.
Erdogan, a former ally of Damascus who has become one of Assad's fiercest critics, underlined that 300,000 Syrians who had fled the conflict were sheltering in neighbouring Turkey.
"We support their demands (of the Syrian people) who aspire to democracy," he said.
Erdogan, who arrived in Algeria on Tuesday, made no mention of the events in Turkey during his speech, which was boycotted by the Workers' Party.
"We boycotted in solidarity with the Turkish people and to condemn the Turkish position in the so-called Arab Spring," the group's president, Djelloul Djoudi, said.
Erdogan is due to travel to Tunisia on Wednesday and return the following day to Turkey, which has been rocked by the worst political crisis of his 10 years in power.
Five days of anti-government demonstrations have now cost the lives of two people, and public workers on Tuesday launched a two-day strike in support of the protests.