“You can’t end terrorism with aerial strikes. Troops on the ground that know the land and can react are essential,” Assad was quoted as saying by Paris Match magazine. “That is why there haven’t been any tangible results in the two months of strikes led by the coalition.” The rare interview, conducted on Nov. 28 in Damascus, is set to be published on Thursday, though portions were featured on the president’s Twitter feed on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Assad also reserved some criticism for Turkey, which he accused of countering his own government’s efforts at routing ISIS, according to the Associated Press. “We are running the ground battles against Daesh, and we have noticed no change, especially with Turkey providing direct support to these regions,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for the militant group.
Syrian forces have been bombing ISIS targets in northern Syria alongside efforts by a U.S.-led coalition, which has been conducting airstrikes on the group since August. U.S. officials have distanced their own efforts from those of the Assad government, saying that they don’t coordinate strikes with each other. As for the U.S. airstrikes, Assad said they “would of course have helped had they been serious and efficient,” reported the AP.