Syrian rebels denounce ISIS attack on Paris

Dozens of Syrian rebel groups on Saturday night strongly denounced the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group’s attacks on Paris as “against human values” in a joint online statement quoted by the AFP news agency.

49 armed factions in Syria, including the powerful Jaish al-Islam rebel groups, condemned “in the strongest terms” ISIS coordinated assault in Paris that killed at least 129 people.

“We learned today, with great shock and condemnation, about the terrorist attacks against civilians in the city of Paris,” the joint statement said.

It called ISIS’s actions “criminal attacks that are against (Islamic) laws and human values”.

Most rebel groups in Syria fiercely oppose both the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad and ISIS, which has declared a self-styled “caliphate” in parts of Syria and Iraq.

“This terrorism does not differ from the terrorism that the Syrian people have suffered from every day for the past five years,” the groups said, according toAFP.

They pledged to continue to “fight terrorism” and urged the international community to address the root cause of extremism in Syria.

“The real victim of the continuation of the Assad regime and its terrorist organizations is the whole world, not just the Syrian people,” the statement said.

The statement from the rebels followed one from Assad himself, in which he claimed that French policy had contributed to the “spread of terrorism” that culminated in the attacks in Paris.

In a meeting with a delegation of French lawmakers in Damascus, Assad said France’s “mistaken policies…had contributed to the spread of terrorism,” blaming France for backing certain Syrian rebel groups deemed to be moderate.

“The terrorist attacks that targeted the French capital Paris cannot be separated from what happened in the Lebanese capital Beirut lately and from what has been happening in Syria for the past five years and in other areas,” he said.

Assad regards all the rebel groups fighting his forces inside Syria as “terrorists”, not just ISIS.

Assad said he had “warned against what would happen in Europe for the past three years.”

“We said, don’t take what is happening in Syria lightly. Unfortunately, European officials did not listen,” he said, in comments to the delegation broadcast by France’s Europe 1 radio.