He showed every sign of believing what he said. His position is that he is fighting terrorism that is inspired and funded by foreigners and driven by extremist religious ideology, and that the rest of the world needs to come round to his way of thinking. I asked about the allegation that his men have left IS alone and have moved to eliminate the middle ground by concentrating on the armed groups that are favoured by the west. I suggested he had done it to offer Syrians a false choice, between his regime and the jihadists. He denied it, unsurprisingly.
I would like to ask a native speaker how he/she understands the bold passage of the text. May be my hesitation regarding this part stems from the fact that my knowledge of the civil war in Syria is superficial so I interpret it that Assad's army stopped its military action against IS and turned its attention to the opposition which is considered as being "salonfähig" by the West. But not sure if this is a correct interrpretation.