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Assad: 'most dangerous' Isis chiefs are Scandi

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Assad: 'most dangerous' Isis chiefs are Scandi
Bashar al-Assad. Photo: Roosewelt Pinheiro/ABr/WikiCommons
08:42 CEST+02:00
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has blamed Norway and other Scandinavian countries for producing "the most dangerous leaders of Isis in our region", in a video interview with Sweden's Expressen newspaper.
Assad said countries like Norway had only themselves to blame for their homegrown Isis fighters, as "European officials" had for years been  "selling their values and allowing the Wahhabi dark ideology to infiltrate and be instilled in some communities", in exchange for money from "countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar" . 
 
 
“The most dangerous leaders of Isis in our region are Scandinavian…that’s what we have as information," he added.
 
Lieutenant General Kjell Grandhagen, the head of the Norwegian Intelligence Service, in February said that several new Norwegian citizens had risen to "middle management functions" within Isis, although the most prominent Norwegian Isis commander, Bastian Vasquez, a Norwegian Chilean from Bærum, was reportedly killed in the Autumn. 
 
“There are still several Norwegians who hold leadership positions in Isil,” Grandhagen told the Dagbladet paper. Among then is a Norwegian Eritrean from Skien, who was also last summer reported to have become an Isis commander.  
 
Assad said that he had warned at the start of Syria's civil war that it would ultimately lead to terror attacks in Europe and beyond. 
 
"They didn’t listen, so what happened was warned of before, and what we saw in France, in Charlie Hebdo, the suicide attempts in Copenhagen, in London, in Spain, ten years ago, this is only the tip of the iceberg." 
 
More than 215, 000 people have been killed in Syria's four-year war, which is increasingly dominated by jihadist groups.
 
 “You have ups and down, you have wins you have losses and that depends on many criteria,” Assad said of the long-drawn-out conflict between his government forces and rebel groups. “We are still running the country." 
 
More than 11 million Syrian have been forced from their homes since 2011, when pro-democracy protests against President Assad's government erupted and the country slid into civil war.
 
Many Norwegians fighting for Isis were first radicalised by the Profetens Ummah group, which is centred around Østfold, Vestfold and Telemark, near Oslo. 
 
The Norwegian Intelligence Service estimates that there are now 150 Norwegians fighting in Syria and Iraq. 
 
 

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