Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:11AM GMT

Bashar-al-Assad-300x201Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says his country is not in a civil war but it has been attacked by foreign-backed militant groups affiliated with al-Qaeda.

In an interview with US network Fox News on Wednesday, the Syrian president said, “What we have is not civil war. What we have is war. It’s a new kind of war.”

“What I can tell you that… 80 to 90 percent of the underground terrorists are al-Qaeda and their offshoots,” Assad said.

The president added that tens of thousands of Syrian people and soldiers have been killed “mainly because of the terrorist attacks, assassinations, and suicide bombers.”

He also warned US President Barack Obama against threats to attack Syria, urging him to “listen to the common sense of your people.”

The United States, France, Britain and the foreign-sponsored militants blame the Syrian government for a recent chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus.

The Assad government has vehemently denied the accusations, saying the attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

In a recent statement, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said the number of Syrian refugees, who have fled the country’s 29-month-long conflict, reached two million.

The UN refugee agency also said some 4.2 million people have also been displaced inside Syria since the beginning of the conflict in the Arab country.