Assad: Trump is an ally if he will fight terrorism

‘I would say this is promising, but can he deliver?’ Syrian president Bashar al-Assad said in response to Donald Trump’s pledge to fight Isis. Photograph: SIPA/Rex/Shutterstock
‘I would say this is promising, but can he deliver?’ Syrian president Bashar al-Assad said in response to Donald Trump’s pledge to fight Isis. Photograph: SIPA/Rex/Shutterstock

France 24 – Syrian President Bashar al Assad said on Tuesday Damascus would have to “wait and see” if U.S. President-elect Donald Trump would change Washington’s policy on Syria but that he was ready to cooperate with him in fighting militants.

In his first comments on Trump’s election victory, Assad said the Republican leader had made promising comments on the need to battle Islamists in Syria’s war but “can he deliver?”

“We don’t have a lot of expectations because the U.S. administration is not only about the President … So we have to wait and see when he embarks on his new mission as president in two months’ time,” he said.

“What about the countervailing forces within the (U.S.) administration?” Assad told a Portuguese television channel in remarks released by Syrian state television, pointing to what he said were rival “lobbies and powers” that traditionally influence any incumbent U.S. president.

Trump has struck a different tone to current U.S. policy on some aspects of the multi-sided Syrian conflict, where the United States with allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia has backed some of the insurgents who have been fighting to topple Assad for more than five years.

Trump has questioned the wisdom of backing rebels, played down the U.S. goal of getting Assad to leave power, and noted that while he didn’t like him, “Assad is killing ISIS” with Iran and Russia. ISIS is an acronym for Islamic State.

“That’s why for us it’s still dubious whether he (Trump) can do or live up to his promises or not,” Assad said. “That is why we are very cautious in judging him … But let’s say if he is going to fight the terrorists of course we are going to be (an) ally, natural ally with the Russians, with the Iranians,” he added.

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