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Syria's Assad Defends Trump Refugee Ban, Says Aimed At 'Terrorists'

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Yahoo News on February 10.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has defended U.S. President Donald Trump's ban on Syrians entering the United States, saying it is targeted at "terrorists" and not the Syrian people.

"It's not against the Syrian people.... It's against the terrorists that could infiltrate some of the immigrants to the West and that happened. It happened in Europe, mainly in Germany and could happen in the United States," Assad told French media in an interview on February 16 in Damascus.

Trump last month denied entry for all refugees for 120 days and barred Syrian refugees indefinitely. The controversial decree, which was suspended by a federal judge, also barred travelers from Syria and six other predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days.

Assad noted in the interview that Islamic State militants can be found throughout Syria, not just in Raqqa or other cities the group has captured there.

He said Trump's critics seized on the immigration order "as the fuel for the conflict with Trump," adding, "For me, as president, I would not worry about that."

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters