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Syria's Assad hails Trump as 'best American president' ever

Assad has been condemned for human rights abuses [AFP]

Date of publication: 1 November, 2019

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Syrian regime head Bashar al-Assad praised Donald Trump as the 'best American president' in a state television interview.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has praised United States President Donald Trump in a pre-recorded interview on state television.

"When it comes to Trump, you may ask me a question and I'll give you an answer which might seem strange. I tell you he's the best American president," he said on Thursday.

"Why? Not because his policies are good, but because he's the most transparent president," Assad added. 

Read also: Assad officials begin trial in Germany, but in Syria regime abuses prevail

"Trump speaks with transparency to say 'we want the oil,'" he said.

"What do we want more than a transparent foe?"

Assad's comments come after Trump's recent withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria, which was then followed by a Turkish military offensive in the country.

Trump's decision to pull US troops out of the area - clearing the way for the Turkish incursion - was attacked at home as a betrayal of America's Kurdish allies, that risks triggering a resurgence of the Islamic State group.

Assad also claimed in the interview that he did not want to make an "enemy" of neighbouring Turkey despite the stand-off between their forces in the north of the country.

"We must ensure that we don't turn Turkey into an enemy and here comes the role of friends" such as Russia and Iran, Assad said in a pre-recorded interview on state television.

The Syrian war began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.

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