Syrian President Bashar Assad is blaming Europe for the refugee crisis, saying it's a direct result of the West's support for terrorists in Syria over the past four years.

"If you are worried about them [refugees], stop supporting terrorists," he said in an interview with Russian media.

Assad also has accused Europe of having "unacceptable" double standards, saying "how can one be indignant about a drowned child and remain silent about the deaths of thousands of children, elderly people, women and men killed by terrorists in Syria?"

Assad emphasized Wednesday his top priority is "defeating terrorism" in Syria, and urged political and armed factions in the country to unite in the fight against extremist groups.

Assad told Russian media there can be no political solution for his country's crisis until terrorism is defeated. He singled out the Islamic State group, which has captured about a third of Syrian territory along with large swaths of land in neighboring Iraq, as well as Al Qaeda's branch in Syria, the Nusra Front, and other extremist groups.

Moscow has been a staunch supporter of Assad throughout the crisis. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said it is impossible to defeat the Islamic State group without cooperating with Damascus. He has urged other nations to follow Russia's example and offer military support to Assad's government.

U.S. officials have said Moscow is simply trying to prop up Assad and have rejected his participation in the global war on the Islamic State group, also known by its acronyms ISIL or ISIS.

Assad said the U.S., which has been leading a coalition that is carrying out airstrikes on IS militants in Syria and Iraq, refuses to work and coordinate with his government.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.