Syria's Assad says Russia's support changes balance on the ground

PRAGUE - Russia's entry into the war in Syria has changed the balance on the ground, Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview on Czech Television, and he predicted that support from his main international ally would remain strong.
In the interview, conducted in Damascus on Sunday and aired on Tuesday, Assad said the downing of a Russian warplane by regional foe Turkey on Nov. 24 showed Ankara's dissatisfaction with developments on the ground in Syria, which he said had been moving in the government's favor.
"I think it (the plane incident) has shown the real intention of (Turkish President Tayyip) Erdogan, how he lost his nerve just because the Russian intervention has changed the balance on the ground," Assad said.
"The war against terrorism is continuing. The Russian support or participation is going to be stronger. It is stronger anyway. There is no way back in that regard," he said.
Turkey, which says Assad's departure must be part of any long-term solution in Syria, has said the Russian jet violated Turkish airspace - something that Russia denies.