Russian President Vladimir Putin claims the Pentagon are secretly recruiting ISIS terrorists to fight Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Putin made the bombshell statements at the end-of-year press conference in Moscow on Tuesday, blasting the U.S. for turning a blind eye to intelligence provided by the Kremlin about ISIS militants travelling to neighboring Iraq in the hope that these militants could later be used to oust Assad.

“Why? Because they [in the White House] are thinking that they [the terrorists] could be used to fight against Assad. This is the simplest thing, but at the same time, the most dangerous thing, including for those who are doing this,” the Russian leader told nearly 1,500 reporters, who had joined the marathon session.

Presstv.com reports: The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against targets that are said to belong to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate. The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of destroying Daesh.

In contrast, Russian jets have been conducting air raids against Daesh targets and those of other terror outfits inside Syria at the Damascus government’s request since September 2015. The airstrikes have helped Syrian forces advance against anti-Damascus militants, who have been wreaking havoc in the Arab country since 2011.

Putin further said that his Monday visit to the worn-torn Arab country was only possible due to the current security situation in Syria following the defeat of Daesh terrorists.

During his surprise visit to Syria, Putin ordered the Syrian-based Russian forces to begin withdrawing from the Arab country.

The Russian leader’s visit came a few days after he declared a “complete victory” over Daesh on both banks of the Euphrates River in Syria as he stressed the significance of switching to a political process to ultimately end the crisis in the Arab country.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian leader touched upon the important issue of returning the Syrian refugees to their homeland, saying Damascus and Moscow would not be able to cope with the refugee crisis alone.