“The Baath regime strives to regionalize the Syrian crisis by spilling the 18-month uprising across the border into neighboring countries, including Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon,” Sieda said in an interview with Today's Zaman, adding that by doing so, the Assad regime plans to divert attention away from the country by keeping those countries busy with, and concentrated on, solving the domestic troubles caused by the crisis.
In a critical response to Turkey's main opposition party's harsh criticism of the Turkish government's position over the escalating crisis, Sieda urged Turkey's opposition to stop using the problems related to the Syrian crisis in the region for political gain.
“As a matter of fact, this is compatible with the interests of the Baath regime that is endeavoring to extend the political crisis in the country across the region,” Sieda noted, adding that Turkey's opposition should handle the issue by taking Turkey's interests into account.
According to Sieda, the rally staged last week in Hatay, a province in southern Turkey, to display support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is part of the plan to export the escalating humanitarian crisis across the border into Turkey.
“Turkey's main opposition party wants the Syrian crisis and the slaughter of Syrian people to be perceived as the main issue of the ruling AK Party [the Justice and Development Party]. However, the [Syrian] uprising came from the people who are seeking their rights and freedoms,” Sieda said.
Dismissing claims that the US government is not in contact with the SNC, as it is trying to invalidate the council, Sieda noted that they were continuing their meetings and cooperation with the US government.
SNC members were not among the participants of the meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who visited İstanbul in early August, which led to rumors of a US move to weaken the influence of the SNC, which has close relations with Ankara. CIA chief David Petraeus, who visited İstanbul on Sept. 3, as well as US senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman, who arrived in İstanbul on Sept. 2, did not meet with anyone from the SNC either.
Sieda also rejected claims that the SNC lacks contact with groups fighting in Syria, pointing out that their dialogue channels with opposition groups in Syria are open, saying, “We are maintaining communication with the fighting opposition groups in different places at different times.”
Sieda also admitted that the SNC is militarily supporting the opposition groups fighting in Syria, adding, “We are disseminating arms in a controlled manner in order to collect those arms back easily and without any problems.”