TEHRAN — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has cast doubt on the West’s integrity in fighting terrorism, saying the campaign is driven by fear, and not values.

Assad said the fact that Europe has now terrorists within its borders is because European states have failed to deal with terrorism “in a realistic base.”

“Why didn’t they fight terrorism from the very beginning, before ISIS (Daesh) appeared? You had al-Nusra, you had al-Qaeda, you had many terrorists. You didn’t fight,” he said in an interview with Dutch television station NPO2 on Thursday.

“Only this fight on terrorism started to appear when there was September 11 in the United States, the recent attacks in Paris, and in different European countries, but before that they didn’t say we are at war with terrorism,” he added.

The Syrian president said the battle against terrorism should be “a stable, sustainable principle,” Syria’s official SANA news agency reported.

“Many European officials have sold their values for the petrodollar, and they allowed the Wahhabi Saudi institutions to pay money and to bring this dark and this extremist ideology to Europe, and that’s why now you are exporting terrorists to us,” he said.

“We don’t export, actually, they came to Syria, and then they go back to Europe,” Assad added.

Daesh and other violent groups follow the Takfiri ideology, rooted in Wahhabism which dominates Saudi Arabia and is freely preached in the kingdom.

‘Terror support must end’

President Assad said the conflict in Syria could be over in “less than a year” if foreign support for terrorism ends.“If the responsible countries take actions against the flood and the flowing of terrorists (into Syria) and the logistic support, I can guarantee that it will take less than one year,” he said.

Assad said the problem is that the backing for terrorists operating in Syria continues on a daily basis in a bid to make the situation more chaotic and to put obstacles in the way of any solution to the crisis.

“They want the solution, what they called a political solution, to be ended with the changing of this state, getting rid of this president or depose him, and so on. So, that’s why it will drag on,” he said.

“Only Russia and Iran and their allies, and the other countries that support politically the Syrian government or the Syrian legitimacy” are prepared to help resolve the crisis in Syria, President Assad said, adding, “but not the West; no-one in the West is ready, few countries are ready, because they don’t dare to make contact with Syria to solve the problem unless the United States wants to impose its agenda on them and on us.”

Assad, meanwhile, was sarcastic about the West’s perceived softening of position on his removal.

“I was packing my luggage, I had to leave, now I can stay. We never care about whatever they say. They’ve been saying the same for four years now.”

Assad said participation in the so-called US coalition allegedly targeting Takfiri Daesh terrorists in his country is illegal, because the military intervention doesn’t have the Syrian permit.

“This is illegal. This is against the international law. We are a sovereign country. If you are serious about fighting terrorism, what is the obstacle for that government to call the Syrian government, to say ‘let’s cooperate in fighting terrorism’?

“The only obstacle is that the Western policy today toward Syria is ‘we need to isolate this state, that president, so we cannot deal with him.’ Okay, you cannot reach anything then.”

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate since September 2014. The mission has fallen severely short of dislodging the terrorists. PNA/IRNA