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West accused of supporting jihadist forces in Syrian conflict

SYRIAN President Bashar al-Assad accused the US, UK and France of supporting terrorism as he scotched claims he had attacked his own people.

Mr Assad said the Western narrative “doesn’t hold together,” pointing to the support of his people in the seven-year war against “terrorists” in Syria which would not be possible if he was carrying out chemical attacks against his own civilians.

He accused Western governments of backing so-called “moderate opposition” groups in Syria in their attempt to force regime change, insisting that these forces were indistinguishable from jihadist groups.

“The West supported the war from the very beginning … supported the terrorists, who started exploding everywhere and killing everyone and beheading [people]. The West supported al-Qaida,” Mr Assad charged, speaking in a Mail on Sunday interview this weekend.

The Syrian president explained that Islamic State and al-Qaida-affiliated groups managed to be in possession of US and British-made arms, which were used against government forces and the Syrian people.

He warned that strikes against Damascus, including bomb attacks by France, the US and UK in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack on Douma, were being exploited by terrorists and allowing them to regroup.

The trio unleashed an avalanche of missiles in April following the claims of conclusive evidence of a gas attack by Mr Assad on civilians, but none has been produced and the case appears to have quietly fallen apart.

Mr Assad recently insisted that foreign troops, including the US, are not welcome in the country and will leave Syria either voluntarily or through force.

“The only decision about what’s going on in Syria and what’s going to happen — it’s the Syrian decision,” he said.

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