Syria conflict: Assad hopes for ‘anti-terror ally’ in Trump

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Syria’s leader has said he hopes US President-elect Donald Trump will be an ally in fighting terrorism but remains “cautious in judging him”.

Bashar al-Assad said Mr Trump would be a “natural ally” if he fulfilled a campaign pledge to fight terrorism.
But he said it was “dubious” whether Mr Trump could “live up to his promises”.

Mr Trump had previously said it was “madness” to oppose both Syrian forces and IS militants, and that fighting Syria could lead to fighting Russia.

Conflict continues to rage in Syria. Government aircraft on Tuesday bombed besieged rebel-held eastern

districts of the city of Aleppo for the first time in three weeks, activists said.

More than 300,000 people have died since the Syrian civil conflict began in March 2011.

‘Very cautious’

Speaking to Portugal’s RTP state television, Mr Assad said: “We cannot tell anything about what he’s going to do,

but if… he is going to fight the terrorists, of course we are going to be [an] ally, natural ally in that regard with the Russians, with the Iranians, with many other countries.”

Mr Assad said that Mr Trump’s pledge to focus the fight on Islamic State (IS) militants was “promising”, but added: “Can he deliver?”

“What about the countervailing forces within the administration, the mainstream media that were against him? How can he deal with it? That’s why for us it’s still dubious… That’s why we are very cautious in judging him.”

Current US policy is to strike against IS and other jihadists while supporting moderate rebels

opposed to President Assad.

Mr Assad regards those groups as terrorists.