Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) takfiri group has been gaining recruits since the start of U.S.-led air strikes against the militant group.
In an interview with the US CBS “60 Minutes” aired on Sunday, Assad stated there were some estimates that ISIL was attracting 1,000 recruits a month in Syria.
Answering a question on the benefit of the coalition airstrikes on ISIL positions, the Syria President said that “sometimes you could have local benefit but in general if you want to talk in terms of ISIS, actually ISIS has expanded since the beginning of the strikes.”
Asked under what circumstances he would leave power, Assad said: “When I don’t have the public support. When I don’t represent the Syrian interests, and values.”
In reply to a question about how he determined what support he had among Syrians, he said: “I don’t determine. I sense. I feel. I’m in contact with them.”
Syria was hit by a violent unrest since mid-March 2011, where the western media reports accuse countries, mainly the USA, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar of orchestrating the civil conflict in the country and providing terrorist groups with money, weapons and trained mercenaries.