PARIS, February 16. /TASS/. The West has no right to decide on Syria’s future instead of Syrians themselves, President Bashar Assad told France’s Europa 1 radio station on Thursday.
"The West cannot choose what is better for Syria: I or the Islamic State (terrorist group outlawed in Russia). This can be done only by the citizens of Syria," Assad said.
"The Western countries should be preoccupied by a problem of how to protect their own people from terrorism threat. We saw that extremists attacked France and Germany," the Syrian leader said.
From the very beginning, the West made a mistake by voicing support for the opposition in Syria, Assad said. "At first, they said that these are peaceful protesters and then they understood that these people are not that peaceful and later it became clear that they are militants of terrorist groups such as the Islamic State."
Assad also said it would have been far more difficult to fight against terrorists active in Syria without Russia’s support.
"Russia’s support is necessary to weaken the terrorists in Syria. Without it, it would have been far more difficult for us to combat them," Assad said. "After the US-led coalition was formed, terrorist groups in Syria started to unite but Russia interfered and stopped their advance."
Assad added that Moscow "always respected Syria’s sovereignty and coordinated its steps with the government." "Russia has been ensuring its own interests as well, which lie in fighting against terror," the Syrian president said.