Assad chides West over refugee crisis as air war heats up

 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has chided Western nations for "crying" over refugees flooding into Europe, claiming that their support for "terrorists" lies at the roots of his country's crisis.

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 17, 2015, 02:31 AM IST

Damascus: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has chided Western nations for "crying" over refugees flooding into Europe, claiming that their support for "terrorists" lies at the roots of his country's crisis.

His remarks, on the eve of the UN peace envoy's visit to Damascus, came as Australia said it had joined the US-led air war against the Islamic State group in Syria, and France said it would as well.

Washington, meanwhile, told close Damascus ally Moscow that Assad has no role in the war against IS in Syria and must step down to allow a political settlement.

Assad, according to a transcript made available Wednesday, said refugees were leaving Syria "mainly because of the terrorists and because of the killing, and second because of the results of terrorism".

"When you have terrorism, and you have the destruction of the infrastructure, you won't have the basic needs of living.

"So, the West is crying for them, and the West is supporting terrorists since the beginning of the crisis when it said that this was a peaceful uprising," Assad said.

"If you are worried about them, stop supporting terrorists."

Damascus labels all those involved in the war against Assad as "terrorists", including Western-backed rebels.

Assad also said Iran's support was essential for his regime in a conflict that has cost more than 240,000 lives since 2011.