Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview aired Wednesday that his priority is “defeating terrorism” in Syria and urged all political and armed factions in the country to unite in the fight against terrorist groups.
In an interview with Russian media, Assad also said there can be no political solution for his country’s crisis until terrorism is defeated. He singled out the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has captured about a third of Syrian territory along with large swaths of land in neighbouring Iraq, as well as al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, the Nusra Front, and “some others,” without specifying.
The government in Damascus has long labelled all armed groups fighting Assad’s forces as “terrorists.” Assad made no reference to the extreme violence his forces have used on civilian areas during the country’s civil war, now in its fifth year, repeating only that some mistakes have been made. …
Assad also blamed Europe for the refugee crisis currently hitting the continent, saying it is a direct result of the West’s support of extremists in Syria over the past four years.