Syria's Assad says no intelligence sharing with France unless change in policy

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Venezuelan state television TeleSUR in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on September 26, 2013. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - Syria will only share intelligence information with France if Paris changes its policies in the region, President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with French magazine Valeurs Actuelles.

“If the French government is not serious in its fight against terrorism, we will not waste our time collaborating with a country, government or an institution that supports terrorism,” he said in the interview carried out the day after Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris.

“You have to first change policy so that it is based on one criteria, to be part of an alliance that joins countries only fighting terrorism and not supporting them.”

Assad, battling a multi-pronged insurgency against his rule, repeated that he had always said he was ready to be part of an international coalition against terrorism and that it was up to Syrians to decide their future through the ballot box.

France has called for a global alliance against Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks and controls swathes of land in Syria and Iraq.

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Crispian Balmer