Syrian President Bashar Assad said Wednesday that Syria was not a hotbed for the Islamic State group, which, according to him, was formed because of the West. Speaking to Italian national broadcaster Rai 1, Assad added that the terrorists responsible for last Friday’s attacks in Paris were trained in Syria with the help of Turks, the Saudis and the Qatari and “of course the Western policy that supported the terrorists in different ways.”
ISIS was started in Iraq and before that in Afghanistan, Assad said, quoting former British prime minister Tony Blair as saying “the Iraqi war helped created ISIS,” according to Agence France-Presse. Assad added that Blair’s "confession is the most important evidence."
“I can tell you Daesh doesn't have the natural incubator, social incubator, within Syria," Assad said, in the interview, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
In a separate interview on state-owned Russia-1 television Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called that the U.S. and its allies’ actions in Syria a “dangerous game” that aimed to weaken Assad.
“The analysis of those [U.S.-led] airstrikes during over a year lead to conclusion that they were hitting selectively, I would say, sparingly and on most occasions didn’t touch those IS units, which were capable of seriously challenging the Syrian army,” Lavrov told the channel, according to RT.com.
Russia has stepped up its air campaign against the Sunni militant group in Syria after it said that it brought down the Russian Metrojet. The passenger jet, carrying 224 people, had crashed over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula region last month. France also retaliated against ISIS with airstrikes after it claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks that killed 129 people and injured about 350.