Since the US-led coalition launched airstrikes against militant targets in Syria in September 2014, Daesh, al-Nusra Front and "other like-minded organizations or groups were expanding, expanding freely," the Syrian leader observed.
"The Russian role is very important. It has had a significant impact on both the military and political arena in Syria… What is definite is that the Russian support to the Syrian people and government from the very beginning, along with the strong and staunch support of Iran, has played a very important part in the steadfastness of the Syrian state in the fight against terrorism."
The Syrian leader stressed that Moscow’s support had been valuable even before it launched its anti-terrorist campaign in Syria.
"The Russians… want to protect Syria, Iraq, the region, themselves and even Europe. I am not exaggerating by saying they are protecting Europe today," Assad said.
Assad emphasized that French and British participation in the US-led airstrike campaign in Syria is illegal under international law and will not be instrumental in defeating Daesh.
"It is legal only when the participation is in cooperation with the legitimate government in Syria. So, I would say they don't have the will and they don't have the vision on how to defeat terrorism," Assad said.
Daesh made headlines when the group captured large territories in Iraq and Syria in mid-2014. Both groups have proved to be quite resilient in the face of the US-led efforts. Russian forces have helped Damascus to free large areas of the country, destroy militant infrastructure and kill hundreds of terrorists.