Paris attacks brought European countries to account over policies – Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (AFP Photo / HO / SANA)
Western states’ policies were responsible for the attacks by Paris gunmen last week, Syrian President Bashar Assad told a Czech newspaper, adding that countries should share intelligence concerning terrorism.

Assad reiterated his condolences to the families of the 17 victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris in an interview with Czech newspaper Literarni noviny, excerpts of which were published by state SANA news agency on Wednesday.

He said that Damascus sympathizes with the families of victims as Syria is “one of the countries which best understand this issue because we have been suffering from terrorism for the past four years and we lost thousands of innocent lives.”

However, Assad reminded that Syria has been addressing the West and “talking about these repercussions” since the conflict in Syria began in 2011.

“We have been saying, you shouldn’t support terrorism and provide it with a political umbrella, because this will reflect on your countries and your people. They didn’t listen to us,” Assad said.

He accused European policies of being responsible for the crisis in Syria and said that the Paris attacks “brought European policies to account, because they are responsible for what happened in our region, for what happened in France, and maybe what happened earlier in other European countries.”

READ MORE: ‘Terrorism exported to Middle East from Europe’ – Assad

Assad urged western nations to fight terrorism with “good policies” and share intelligence.

“We should fight ignorance with culture and education, should build a good economy to fight poverty, and there should be an exchange of information among the countries concerned with fighting terrorism,” he said.

Assad, who has a medical background, compared terrorism with cancer, saying that you should extract it.

“The problem cannot be addressed in the way they addressed it in Afghanistan, I mean what they did in Afghanistan in 2001. A group of Congressmen visited Damascus at that time and they were talking about invading Afghanistan in revenge for what happened in New York earlier.

“I said this is not how you should do it, because fighting terrorism is similar to treating cancer. You do not treat cancer by cutting it, but by extracting it. What happened in Afghanistan is that they cut the cancer, and the result was that it spread much faster.”

Aerial view taken on January 11, 2015 of the Unity rally “Marche Republicaine” at the Place de la Republique (Republique's square) in Paris in tribute to the 17 victims of a three-day killing spree by homegrown Islamists. (AFP Photo / Kenzo Tribouillard)

The Paris shootings have prompted tens of thousands to take to the streets in France and other European countries showing solidarity with the victims. The attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices was triggered by cartoons published earlier by the satirical left-wing paper that portrayed the Prophet Muhammad.

READ MORE: ‘Act of war’: New Charlie Hebdo edition triggers Muslims’ anger, threats

Meanwhile, on Wednesday a record 3 million copies of the magazine’s new edition – the first after the shooting – appeared on French newsstands, with new caricatures triggering outrage among Muslims all over the world, and threats from radical Islamists.