Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar Al-AssadReuters

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad told a visiting group of European parliamentarians on Sunday that western governments' support for opposition groups in Syria caused terrorism in Europe, Reuters reported.

"The problems Europe faces today of terrorism, extremism and waves of refugees are caused by some western leaders' adoption of policies which do not serve their people," the Syrian president told a delegation of members of the European Parliament headed by Javier Couso, vice chairman of its foreign affairs committee.

"Especially when those leaders give support and political cover to terrorist groups inside Syria," Assad said, according to Reuters.

The Syrian government, supported by Iran and Russia, refers to all groups fighting it in the five-year-old conflict as terrorists, including Western-backed rebels who are considered “moderate”.

The UN, however, classifies only the Islamic State (ISIS) and the A;-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front as terrorist groups.

A range of countries provide financial, logistical and training support to the many armed opposition groups in Syria, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Opposition groups accuse the government of deliberately targeting civilians and breaching ceasefires.

The Syrian opposition which is recognized by the West has insisted Assad must step down “dead or alive”.

The Syrian government, for its part, refuses to negotiate on Assad's future and insists that issue is not part of the UN-backed peace talks with the opposition.