Syria’s foreign minister on Monday blasted the United States’ “dual policy” of striking at some militants in Syria while providing money, weapons and training to others, calling it a recipe for more violence and terrorism.
Walid al-Moallem said such behavior creates a “fertile ground” for the continued growth of extremism in countries including Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
He addressed the annual U.N. General Assembly as U.S.-led coalition airstrikes targeted towns and villages in northern and eastern Syria controlled by the Islamic State group. Washington and Arab allies opened their air assault against the extremist group last week in Syria, going after its military facilities, training camps, heavy weapons and oil installations. The campaign expands upon the airstrikes the United States has been conducting against the militants in Iraq since early August.
The coalition includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Jordan. The U.S. administration has also approved a program to equip and train Syrian rebel factions it describes as moderate.
Al-Moallem said the countries which joined the U.S. coalition include some who have been key supporters of “armed terrorist groups.” He did not name them, but Syria regularly accuses Saudi Arabia and Qatar of supporting the opposition fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The foreign minister also tried to position his country on the same side of the coalition fighting the Islamic State group, which he said has been “unleashed like a monster” against Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
“Let us together stop this ideology and its exporters. Let us simultaneously exert pressure on the countries that joined the coalition led by the United States to stop their support of armed terrorist groups,” he said. “Only then, combating terrorism militarily becomes viable.”
Al-Moallem said the U.S. administration maintains a double standard in its support of groups it calls moderate with money, weapons and training.
“This is a real recipe for the increase of violence and terrorism, shedding of Syrian blood, prolonging of the Syrian crisis,” he said. “This behavior creates a fertile ground for the growth of these terrorist groups that commit the most heinous crimes on Syrian territory.”