Assad accuses France of 'supporting terrorism'

Syrian President rejects France as venue for signing peace deal with opponents, says France supports terrorism.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

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

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad accused France of "supporting terrorism" and said he saw Prague as a possible venue for signing any future peace deal to end his country's four-year civil war, in comments broadcast Monday on Czech TV.

In an interview due to be aired in full on Tuesday, the Syrian President was asked whether he could see a peace deal being signed in Prague, as Czech President Milos Zeman had suggested in September.

"Naturally, if you ask Syrians they will tell you they don't want a peace conference in France, for example, because France supports terrorism and war, not peace," he said on the CT public station.

"And as you mention Prague, it would be generally accepted because of the balanced position of your country."

As the last diplomatic outpost of the West in Syria, the Czech embassy has become a hub for confidential American and EU communication with the Damascus regime amid moves aimed at ending the four-year conflict.

France has been adamant in its opposition to Assad, describing him as a "butcher" of his own people and on Monday Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said working with the Syrian army to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) group was not on the cards until he was removed.

Assad, for his part, said following the deadly terror attacks in Paris that they were caused in part by French policy, and later said his country is willing to share intelligence information with France but only if Paris changes its policies in the region.

On a trip to Washington last week, French President Francois Hollande and reiterated his determination to see Assad step down in order to give Syria a chance for peace, saying "it should be as soon as possible."

"He has been the problem -- he cannot be the solution," Hollande said.

Assad’s claim that France supports terrorism came a day after the Syrian President accused his enemies abroad of increasing support for “terrorists” - that is, the regime's armed opponents.

Assad refers to all the rebel groups trying to oust him as “terrorists”.

AFP contributed to this report.