BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad has lashed out at his French counterpart ahead of France's April presidential election, accusing Francois Hollande of sponsoring terror in Syria.
Assad is encouraging Western nations to reset their relations with his pariah government, after six years of civil war.
Assad told French media outlets Europe 1 and TF1 in an interview broadcast on Thursday that he prefers someone who is "not a warmonger" to be the next French president.
Outgoing Hollande maintained former President Nikolas Sarkozy's position to support Syria's 2011 uprising against the Assad family rule. The uprising subsequently descended into all-out civil war.
Assad says the French president's policy is tantamount to "supporting terrorists."
Assad's government has labelled all armed opposition to his rule — including the Western-backed rebels — as "terrorists."