Syrian President Bashar Assad said Tuesday the West is “responsible” for the refugee crisis in Europe, while conceding that the exodus is a “great loss” for his country, NBC News reported.
“The West now is crying for the refugees with one eye and aiming at them with a machine gun with the second one," Assad said, repeating his accusation that the West supports Islamist militants against the regime in Syria's bloody, four-year-old civil war.
"If you are worried about them [refugees], stop supporting terrorists," Assad said in a televised interview aired on Russian channels. "This is the core of the whole issue of refugees."
Western powers maintain that regime brutality is the root cause of the refugee crisis, not Western policy. The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that 240,000 Syrians have died and two million have been injured since the conflict began. The U.N. says more than 12 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance.