World

Assad: Syria against killing of civilians, sympathizes with families of Paris attack victims

FILE - This Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009 file photo shows Syrian President Bashar Assad during a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the presidency in Tehran, Iran. In excerpts of an interview with Czech publication Literarni Noviny, published by Syria's state media Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, Assad says Syria is against the killing of civilians anywhere in the world and sympathizes with the families of victims of last week's terrorist attack in France. Assad also called on Western politicians to reconsider their backing of Syrian rebels and opposition. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

FILE - This Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009 file photo shows Syrian President Bashar Assad during a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the presidency in Tehran, Iran. In excerpts of an interview with Czech publication Literarni Noviny, published by Syria's state media Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, Assad says Syria is against the killing of civilians anywhere in the world and sympathizes with the families of victims of last week's terrorist attack in France. Assad also called on Western politicians to reconsider their backing of Syrian rebels and opposition. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)  (The Associated Press)

President Bashar Assad says Syria is against the killing of civilians anywhere in the world and sympathizes with the families of victims of last week's terrorist attack in France.

In an interview with Czech publication Literarni Noviny, he also calls on Western politicians to reconsider their backing of Syrian rebels and opposition.

He says Western politicians were "short-sighted" and France's attacks proved that "what we said was true."

Excerpts of the interview were published by Syria's state media Wednesday.

Assad's government has cast the March 2011 uprising against his family's four-decade rule as a foreign plot furthered by Islamic extremists. It views all the rebels as "terrorists."

The uprising prompted a brutal response by the government, leading to a full-blown civil war that has claimed 200,000 lives.