Hundreds of cheering people took to the streets of Damascus early on Saturday and celebratory gunfire erupted after Turkey’s army said it seized power from President Tayyip Erdogan, one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main regional opponents.
Residents said convoys of cars were processing around the Mazzeh district of the Syrian capital, with people waving flags and shouting: “God, Syria and Bashar!”. There were similar celebrations in other government-held cities.
Assad’s government has accused Erdogan of fuelling Syria’s five-year conflict by supporting Islamist insurgents battling Damascus and allowing foreign jihadis to cross the border from Turkey into Syria.
A resident in the government-held part of the northern city of Aleppo said people believed that “Erdogan’s fall is an announcement of the end of the crisis in Syria, given he is the one chiefly responsible for the crisis”.
Another Aleppo resident said people were chanting for Erdogan to be held to account.
A witness in the Jaramana district of Damascus said the celebratory gunfire there was greater even than when Assad won re-election as president two years ago.