Paris attacks brought European countries to account over policies – Assad
Published time: January 14, 2015 16:31
Western states’ policies were responsible for the attacks by Paris gunmen last week, Syrian President Bashar Assad told a Czech newspaper, adding that countries should share intelligence concerning terrorism.
Assad reiterated his condolences to the families of the 17 victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris in an interview with Czech newspaper Literarni noviny, excerpts of which were published by state SANA news agency on Wednesday.
He said that Damascus sympathizes with the families of victims as Syria is “one of the countries which best understand this issue because we have been suffering from terrorism for the past four years and we lost thousands of innocent lives.”
However, Assad reminded that Syria has been addressing the West and “talking about these repercussions” since the conflict in Syria began in 2011.
“We have been saying, you shouldn’t support terrorism and provide it with a political umbrella, because this will reflect on your countries and your people. They didn’t listen to us,” Assad said.
He accused European policies of being responsible for the crisis in Syria and said that the Paris attacks “brought European policies to account, because they are responsible for what happened in our region, for what happened in France, and maybe what happened earlier in other European countries.”
Assad urged western nations to fight terrorism with “good policies” and share intelligence.
“We should fight ignorance with culture and education, should build a good economy to fight poverty, and there should be an exchange of information among the countries concerned with fighting terrorism,” he said.
‘Terrorism exported to Middle East from Europe’ – Assad
Edited time: December 06, 2014 10:39
In the ongoing civil war in Syria government forces have been fighting terrorists since the very beginning of the conflict in its third year, said Assad in an interview with Paris Match news magazine given in late November and published on Wednesday.
“Even in the first days of the events, there were martyrs from the army and the police; so, since the first days of this crisis we have been facing terrorism,” he said answering a question whether the conflict could have been managed differently with the appearance of the first signs of the March 2011 revolution.
The civil war was preceded by violent anti-government protests and unrest, considered to be an extension of the Arab Spring that swept through the Middle East and North Africa supported by radical Islamist groups including Al-Qaeda.
“Let’s be honest: had Qatar not paid money to those terrorists at that time, and had Turkey not supported them logistically, and had not the West supported them politically, things would have been different. If we in Syria had problems and mistakes before the crisis, which is normal, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the events had internal causes,” Assad said.
He explained that currently Syria is fighting against “not only gangs”, but also states that support them with “billions of dollars.”
“This is not a war between two armies where you can say that they took a certain part and we took another part. The war now is not like that. We are talking about terrorist groups which suddenly infiltrate a city or a village,” he elaborated.
He refuted claims that the Syrian government supports Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS) militants, which are on the rampage in parts of Syria and Iraq, calling them absurd.
“The truth is that ISIS was created in Iraq in 2006. It was the United States which occupied Iraq, not Syria. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi [IS leader] was in American prisons, not in Syrian prisons. So, who created ISIS, Syria or the United States?”
‘Syria will not be a Western puppet state’
The Syrian Opposition Coalition, formed in 2012 in Qatar and supported by the US, has been calling for Assad to resign. President Barack Obama’s administration repeatedly said conflict in Syria can only be solved if Assad steps down as president.
“Chaos ensued after Gaddafi’s departure. So, was his departure the solution? Have things improved, and has Libya become a democracy?” he questioned.