Middle East

Syrian President Says Some Refugees Are Terrorists But Offers No Proof

In an interview with Yahoo News, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad alleged many peaceful refugees were once terrorists in Syria.

Syrian President Says Some Refugees Are Terrorists But Offers No Proof
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In a rare interview with Yahoo News, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says some Syrian refugees could be sympathetic to ISIS and other terror groups.

"Some of these refugees, in your view, are aligned with terrorism," Yahoo News Chief Investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff asked Assad. 

"Definitely. You can find it on the net," Assad replied.

Over 11 million Syrians have been displaced since the country's civil war broke out in March 2011. Roughly 4.8 million of those people have fled their homeland.

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The fear that terrorists could enter the U.S. as refugees has been a point of contention.

It's one of the reasons President Donald Trump indefinitely banned Syrian refugees from resettling in the states in his executive order that's now blocked.

Although Assad didn't say how many refugees he thought sympathized with terror groups, he did say that's not important.

"It's not about significant because you don't need significant number to commit atrocities. ... It's not about the number. It's about the quality. It's about the intention," Assad said.

During the civil war, Assad's government has labeled any dissenter or rebel, including U.S.-backed rebel groups, as "terrorists."

And research from the Cato Institute shows no refugee, Syrian-born or not, has been involved in a major fatal terror attack in the U.S. since 1980.