Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday condemned Friday’s deadly attacks by Islamic State in Paris but said the West’s “flawed” policies in Syria, especially that of France, was partly to blame.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a coordinated assault by gunmen and bombers that killed 127 people at locations across Paris. President Francois Hollande said amounted to an act of war against France.
France launched air strikes against Islamic State in Syria in September, saying it wanted to prevent the group from carrying out attacks against French interests and protect Syrian civilians.
“The flawed policies pursued by Western countries and especially France as regards what is happening in our region ... contributed to the spread of terrorism,” Assad was quoted as saying on Syrian state media.
“What France suffered from savage terror is what the Syrian people have been enduring,” he said. Assad met with a French delegation on Saturday, state media reported, though this appeared to be unconnected to Friday’s attacks. The report gave no further details.
Assad has long warned that Western countries would end up paying dearly for aiding rebels who have been fighting him in a campaign to topple his government since 2011.
But Assad’s opponents blame him for fuelling Islamist militancy with his war against the rebels in which hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed.