The wave of jihadist attacks in Europe is the price the West is paying for supporting “terrorists” in Syria, the country’s President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday after two attackers killed a priest in France.
“The war on terrorism in Syria offers many lessons for the region and for the whole world, as is shown by the recent spate of attacks that have targeted many countries,” he wrote on Twitter.
“The policies of western countries that support the terrorists have negative consequences for their citizens economically and in terms of security,” Assad added.
The Assad government calls “terrorists” the myriad of rebel groups pitted against it in Syria’s over five years long civil war.
Many Western leaders are backing rebel groups in the brutal conflict because they want to weaken Syria, Assad claimed.
“Because Syria is still an independent country, they are backing the terrorists to weaken it and turn it into a satellite state.”
France, which is reeling from two deadly jihadist attacks in less than two weeks, was the first country to join the US-led coalition in Iraq.
It has provided logistical support to Syrian rebels it considers moderate, including Kurdish fighters, and last autumn also began conducting air strikes against IS targets in Syria.
France has continued to take a tough diplomatic line against Assad and to stand firm on the demand that he must go if the devastating war in Syria is to end.