The Syrian president has accused coalition forces of ‘supporting terrorists’ and warns that the US-led air strikes in Syria have actually helped ISIS to recruit more fighters and expand its control in the region.
In an interview with Czech TV on Tuesday, the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad condemned the actions of the UK, France, the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar while praising Vladimir Putin for launching the bombing campaign that backed Syrian government forces in September.
This comes just as British MPs prepare to vote on whether the UK should join its allies in launching airstrikes in Syria
During the interview, he also said that Turkey had revealed their true agenda in the war against ISIS by the downing of the Russian Su-24 plane.
The Independent reports:
Mr Assad, who is backed by both Russia and Iran, said: “Since the beginning of that coalition, if you want to talk about facts, not opinion, since the beginning of that coalition, Isis has expanded and the recruiting from around the world has increased.
“While since the participation of Russia in the same fight, so-called against terrorism, Isis has been shrinking.”
Western leaders have demanded Mr Assad step down, and are backing rebel groups fighting against his regime. David Cameron and French president Francois Hollande have described him as a “butcher” of his own people, and responsible for triggering the refugee crisis.
Russia, meanwhile, has been criticised for targeting moderate rebels as well as jihadists.
According to Sky News, when asked what he thought would end four years of civil war in Syria, in which more than 200,000 people have been killed, Mr Assad said: “When those countries that I mentioned – France, UK, US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and some other – stop supporting those terrorists.
“The situation will be better and in a few months we will have full peace in Syria, definitely. If they stop.”