Syria's Assad says West to blame for France attacks
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Western "shortsightedness" and "support for terrorism" in the revolt against his rule were to blame for last week's attacks in Paris, state media reported Wednesday.
In his first reaction to the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket which killed 17 people, Assad said he had repeatedly warned Western governments that their support for rebel groups in Syria risked a blowback of violence at home.
"We need to remind many in the West that we have warned of such incidents since the beginning of the crisis in Syria," he told Czech newspaper Literarni Noviny in an interview to be published on Thursday.
"We kept saying you must not support terrorists or give them political cover, or else this will impact your countries and your peoples," he said in excerpts carried by the Syrian Arab News Agency.
Ever since a revolt broke out against Damascus in 2011, Assad has made no distinction between peaceful and armed opponents.
He has also used the term "terrorist" to refer to all armed rebels, both the Western-backed Free Syrian Army and the jihadist groups that now dominate the revolt.
Assad said that Western leaders, like those of Syria's former colonial ruler France, who had championed his removal had been "short-sighted and narrow-minded".
"What happened in France has proven that everything we said was right," he said.
© 2015 AFP