National Security

Syrian Dictator: Terrorists Are ‘Definitely’ Among Refugees


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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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Some of the terrorists fleeing the ongoing Syrian civil war are “definitely” terrorists, according to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Assad’s claim came during an interview in the Syrian capital of Damascus with Yahoo News, partially published Thursday. When asked about President Donald Trump’s recent order indefinitely barring Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., the Syrian strong man refused to take sides; he claimed it was “an American issue.” However, when asked if some of the refugees “are aligned with terrorists,” Assad said “definitely.”

“You can find it on the Net,” Assad told investigative reporter Michael Isikoff. “Those terrorists in Syria, holding the machine gun or killing people, they [appear as] peaceful refugees in Europe or in the West.”

Assad did not offer any statistics regarding how many terrorists may be among the refugees, but he noted that jihadis “don’t seen [sic] a significant number to commit atrocities.”

He cited the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as an example, noting they were perpetrated by less than 20 terrorists “out of maybe millions of immigrants in the United States. So it’s not about the number, it’s about the quality, it’s about the intentions.”

Assad played a large part in creating the refugee crisis through his indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations. Additionally, the Syrian strongman himself played a role in creating the Islamic State after he reportedly released terrorists from prison who later became high-ranking leaders. Assad also reportedly bought gas from ISIS to fuel his regime, eventually becoming the group’s largest source of revenue.

Assad said he wants to bring back the 4.8 million refugees dispersed by the war, saying his “priority is to bring those citizens to their country, not help them immigrate.”

Assad, backed by his Russian and Iranian allies, has wreaked havoc on his country’s citizenry by targeting civilians with air strikes. The war, which started in 2011, is estimated to have killed approximately 400,000 people.

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