Pacific

Assad: Western nations quietly collaborating with Syria

Syrian President Bashar Assad says Western nations publicly critical of his regime have been quietly sending security officials to collaborate with his war-ravaged country.

Assad told Australia's SBS news channel in an interview broadcast Friday that there is a double standard in the West. He says Western nations attack him politically but send officials to deal with him behind the scenes.

President Barack Obama is opposed to armed intervention in Syria's civil war, which has left at least 250,000 people dead and contributed to a global refugee crisis.

Though Obama blamed Assad for using chemical weapons in 2013 and threatened military strikes against Syrian forces, he has thus far only authorized strikes against the Islamic State movement and other U.S.-designated terror groups in Syria.