Da­m­as­cus to ‘wait and see’ if Trump keeps prom­ises

China Daily (USA) - - WORLD - By AGEN­CIES in Am­man

Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad said on Tues­day Da­m­as­cus would have to “wait and see” if US Pres­i­den­tDon­ald 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?” Bashar al-As­sad,

“We don’t have a lot of ex­pec­ta­tions be­cause the US 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 (US) ad­min­is­tra­tion?” As­sad told aPor­tuguese tele­vi­sion chan­nel in re­marks re­leased by Syr­ian state tele­vi­sion, point­ing to what he said were ri­val “lob­bies and pow­ers” that tra­di­tion­ally influence any in­cum­bent US pres­i­dent.

Trump has struck a dif­fer­ent tone to cur­rent US pol­icy on some as­pects of the mul­ti­sided Syr­ian con­flict, where the United States with al­lies Turkey and Saudi Ara­bia has backed some of the in­sur­gents who have been fight­ing to top­pleAs­sad’s gov­ern­ment for more than five years.

Trump has ques­tioned the wis­dom of back­ing rebels, played down the US 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 another acro­nym for Is­lamic State group.

“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 judg­inghim... 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.

As­sad said he was ready to co­op­er­ate with Wash­ing­ton if it ended its pol­icy of sup­port­ing rebels seek­ing to over­throw the gov­ern­ment.

Mean­while, Rus­sian Ad­mi­ral Grig­orovich frigate tar­geted ter­ror­ists in Syria with cruise mis­sile strikes, Rus­sian De­fense Min­is­ter Sergei Shoigu said onTues­day, Sput­niknews re­ported.

The re­sump­tion of bomb­ing in rebel-held neigh­bor­hoods of Aleppo was the first time in nearly a month.

The Rus­sian blitz be­gan hours af­ter Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and Trump dis­cussed Syria in a phone call and agreed on the need to com­bine ef­forts in the fight against what the Krem­lin called their No 1 en­emy — “in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism and ex­trem­ism”.

If he (Trump) is go­ing to fight the ter­ror­ists of course we are go­ing to be (an) ally, nat­u­ral ally with the Rus­sians, with the Ira­ni­ans.” Syr­ian pres­i­dent

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