London: Former head of the armed forces, General Sir David Richards, has held the United States’ and the United Kingdom’s Syria policy responsible for the swift rise of militant group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

He said during an interview that Washington and London although encouraged rebels in Syria to keep fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime but denied them the means to win the fight. The frustration that followed became the precursor to the formation of the militant organization that has now spread to Iraq as well, reported The Independent.

Richards said that there was a contingency plan that was to ensure that the rebels would be capable of taking on the Assad regime within a year but it involved risks. However, if implemented, it could have prevented the situation from worsening, he added.

Commenting on the current scenario, he said that the group has grown into a much bigger challenge today than it was two years ago that will require bigger responses.

The former military chief remarked that the U.S and the U.K. still do not have a clear strategy for countering the ISIS that has captured large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq and has beheaded an American journalist James Foley. Pointing towards a lack of understanding, he warned that the full extent of the threat posed by the group is not being understood even now.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal