Syria blames European policies toward Damascus for migrant exodus from the Arab country

Syria's information minister says Europe should bear full responsibility for the flood of Syrian refugees streaming into the continent.

The minister, Omran al-Zoubi, says in a rare comment from Damascus that the migrants are mostly fleeing from areas held by rivals of President Bashar Assad's government, including the Islamic State group.

His remarks, carried by state media Thursday, say European countries, "which sent terrorists" to Syria and imposed economic sanctions on the Syrian people, must take responsibility for their anti-Syria policies.

European countries have been harsh critics of Assad's government and thousands of fighters from around the world, including Europe, have come to Syria to fight in extremist groups such as the IS against government forces.

Al-Zoubi says that "any Syrian abroad can return to his country anytime he wants."