MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Daesh and the Jabhat Fatah al Sham groups are banned in Russia and are considered terrorist organizations by numerous other countries.
"When terrorists came to Syria, if we talk about the start of the problem, nobody was talking about al-Nusra or ISIS [Daesh] back then. They were simply called the Free Syrian Army, an allegedly social force fighting against the government and the army. But in reality…already back then we can see the beheading of people starting from the first weeks. This means it was a radical movement from the start," Assad told Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) was Damascus' major challenger at the beginning of the internal conflict in Syria when it managed to unite nearly all opposition factions considered by the West to be the so-called "moderate" opposition. The FSA then split into several groups and shrank to some 60 units, which are allied to Jabhat Fatah al Sham, according to Syrian intelligence.
"When it [the Free Syrian Army] started to grow and it became impossible to hide the crimes of beheadings, the West was forced to accept the existence of al-Nusra [Jabhat Fatah al Sham]. But it is actually the Free Syrian Army. It is ISIS [IS]. They have the same roots and move from one area to another," Assad said.