Syrian President Bashar Assad echoed President Donald Trump’s remark that terrorists can infiltrate the United States as refugees. In an interview, Assad distanced himself from the US immigration ban, claiming he is not American to justify it. But he confirmed that some terrorists indeed go to other countries as “innocent” asylum seekers.
Assad said it is difficult to point out exactly how many refugees are terrorists since “no one has any number” and “nobody knows all the terrorists to give a percentage”. But when asked if some of those who fled the civil war are “aligned with terrorists”, he promptly answered: “Oh, definitely.”
“You can find it on the Net,” he told Yahoo. “Those terrorists in Syria, holding the machine gun or killing people, they are peaceful refugees in Europe or in the West.”
The Syrian president noted that terrorist attacks do not necessarily need a large number of militants to coordinate. The 9/11 attacks which Osama Bin Laden led, for example, only had 20 terrorists out of the millions of immigrants in the US. “It’s not about the number, it’s about the qualities, their intentions.”
Syrian Civil War
Per Daily Caller, the 51-year-old Syrian strongman played a vital role in creating the refugee crisis through his indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations. In addition to that, he himself played a role in creating the Islamic State (ISIS). Reports have it he released terrorists from prison before who later on became high-rank officials in the radical group.
There were also claims of him purchasing gas from ISIS to fuel his regime, ultimately making it the group’s biggest source of revenue. Despite these allegations, Assad says his citizens are his main priority.
The site reports he plans to bring back the 4.8 million refugees the war had dispersed. “For me, the priority is to bring those citizens to their country, not to help them immigrate.”
Assad’s comments come on the heels of Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s decision to stop the ‘Dubs Scheme’ which brings 3,000 child refugees from war-torn countries, including Syria to the United Kingdom. David Cameron conceded the program May last year following a public outcry over the European refugee crisis and the prospect of Tory rebellion.
The Guardian reports move stirred quite a backlash with opposition politicians condemning it as shameful. Rudd defended the decision, though, saying Britain had already “done what we were obliged to do”.
Britain’s refusal to take in young asylum seekers contrasts its response in the last major refugee crisis it has experienced. During the breakup of Yugoslavia in the ’90s, the UK notably took in over 200,000 refugees in a three-year period.