Middle East

Syria slams France for not cooperating over ISIS

French president Francois Hollande, holds a press meeting, as part of a European Union summit on August 31, 2014 at the EU Headquarters in Brussels. AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD

DAMASCUS: Syria Sunday criticized France's President Francois Hollande for his refusal to cooperate with Damascus against jihadists from ISIS.

"The French president's insistence on pursuing his campaign of lies since the beginning of the crisis in Syria ... has made his country one of those most responsible for the bloodshed in Syria," state news agency SANA quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying.

"Regional and international support for takfiri [extremist] terrorist groups ... is the main reason for the prolongation of the crisis and the rise and spread of armed terrorist groups to countries in the region and beyond," the ministry said.

The comments come after Hollande Thursday rejected any cooperation with President Bashar Assad's regime, which said this week it was willing to work with the international community to tackle the threat posed by ISIS.

"A big alliance is necessary but let's be clear - Bashar al-Assad cannot be a partner in the fight against terrorism, he is the de facto ally of jihadists," Hollande said.

France and other backers of the Syrian uprising against Assad have accused the government in Damascus of effectively backing ISIS by failing to target it.

Damascus says it is fighting a war against "terror" and deems all those seeking to overthrow Assad "terrorists."

Its offer to work with other nations to target jihadists comes amid rising international concern over advances by ISIS, which has seized territory in both Syria and Iraq.

The group has become notorious for abuses including beheading and crucifixions, and has declared an Islamic "caliphate" in the territory under its control.





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