The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was created in Iraq in 2006 “under the supervision of the Americans,” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told French television in an interview broadcast on Monday.

With the civil war in its fifth year, Assad presented a customarily defiant face in the interview with France 2 TV, denying using chemical weapons or “barrel bombs” against his foes, denying that Iranian troops were fighting in support of his regime, and accusing the West and regional Arab states of supporting the infiltration of terrorists into Syria.

Asked whether he had helped ISIS to emerge in order to present himself as “a shield” against the terrorists, Assad bristled.

ISIS was created in Iraq in 2006 under the supervision of the Americans,” he said, according to a transcript provided by the official SANA news agency. “I wasn’t controlling Iraq. The Americans controlled Iraq, and ISIS came from Iraq to Syria, because chaos is contagious.”

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