Russia’s President Vladimir Putin warned the West that its policy of funding terrorists to bring down the Syrian government was “short-sighted” and could backfire.

Mr. Putin said that in Syria the West was repeating the same mistake it had made in Afghanistan.

“Today some people want to use militants from al Qaeda or some other organisations with equally radical views to accomplish their goals in Syria,” Mr. Putin said in his first full television interview since he reclaimed presidency four months ago.

He drew parallels with United States’ support for mujahedeen to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan.

“At that time, our present partners supported a rebel movement there and basically gave rise to al Qaeda, a United States pet project which later turned against its creator,” Mr. Putin told the state-controlled Russia Today TV channel.

The U.S. might as well “open the gates of Guantanamo. arm all its inmates and bring them to Syria to do the fighting – it’s practically the same thing”.

“This policy is very short-sighted and is fraught with dire consequences,” the Russian leader stressed.

More In: International | News