Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has come out in support of U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban, saying that it is justified to prevent terrorists infiltrating the West. “I think Trump’s goal is to prevent these people from coming,” he said.
Speaking in an interview with the Europe 1 and France’s TF1 television stations, Assad said Trump’s efforts to halt the invasion were “not against the Syrian people. It is against the terrorists that could infiltrate some of the immigrants to the West and that happened. It happened in Europe, mainly in Germany and could happen in the United States.”
Assad was referring to the countless arrests of ISIS-aligned terrorists in both Europe and America who entered those regions pretending to be refugees.
Asked about Trump’s policy in general toward Syria, Assad pointed out that the U.S. president had not yet officially announced any policy on the matter.
“I cannot feel at ease with Donald Trump until I have seen his policy toward Syria. I have not seen it yet,” he said.
The interviewers then asked if the capture of Aleppo by government forces meant that the Syrian government was now winning the war in Syria.
“We cannot talk about winning the war yet,” Assad replied. “This [the fall of Aleppo] was an important step along the way and it leads us on to the path of beating and eliminating terrorism in our country.
“But I think there is a long path ahead, for the simple reason that the terrorists have the support of many Western countries, including France.”
The French governments’ support of terrorists, Assad continued, makes them “directly responsible for the killings” in his country.
“They (the French authorities) have repeatedly said they supported the war, and [French president] Hollande recently declared that it was a mistake not to have launched the war in 2013. It was they who sent arms to those who they call moderate groups but who are in fact terrorists.”
Assad also used the opportunity to deny allegations launched by Amnesty International of summary executions and other crimes in Damascus. Calling the report “biased,” he promised that his army did not torture its enemies and argued that “if we commit such atrocities it’s going to play into the hands of the terrorists.”
Asked whether the ISIS stronghold of Raqa, from where many of the terrorist attacks in France have been prepared, was a “priority target,” Assad said that his government’s army had “priorities everywhere,” and not just in Raqa, which was just a symbolic center.
“It depends on the evolution of the fighting, but for us, Raqa, Palmyra, Idlib, everything counts,” he said. “It is incumbent on the government to regain control of the entire country.”