Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad said U.S. President Donald Trump’s ban on Syrians entering the U.S. targeted terrorists, not the Syrian people, appearing to defend the logic of the measure in an interview.

Trump last month issued an executive order, since suspended by a U.S. district judge, that temporarily barred travellers from seven mostly Muslim countries including Syria, as well as imposing an indefinite ban on all Syrian refugees.

“It’s against the terrorists that would infiltrate some of the immigrants to the West. And that happened. It happened in Europe, mainly in Germany,” Al-Assad said in the interview with Europe 1 radio and TF1 television which was recorded on Tuesday in English.

“I think the aim of Trump is to prevent those people from coming.” It was “not against the Syrian people”, he added.

Trump said his order, which triggered protests at home and abroad and confusion at U.S. and international airports, was intended to prevent militants from entering the U.S.

His administration is challenging the suspension ruling, which was upheld last week by appeal court judges.