The sanctions the US and Europe placed on Damascus serve a single goal: to pit people against the government and make them uphold the West’s agenda, Syrian President Bashar Assad told RT in an exclusive interview.

The restrictions the EU and the US imposed against Syria initially targeted ordinary Syrians so that they would blame the government for their woes and eventually rebel, President Assad told RT’s Afshin Rattansi. Now, as the West has kept renewing the sanctions year by year for almost a decade, they serve another goal: to punish Syrians for refusing to bow to the pressure, the president said.

"Those people were expected to rise against their government during the different stages of the war but they did not. They were supposed to support the terrorists – the ‘moderate rebels’ and ‘angels’ of White Helmets – but the people did not and stood with their government. So, they have to suffer. They have to pay the price and learn their lesson that they should stand with the agenda [of the West]."

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