Former Saudi Chief of Intelligence and Ambassador to the U.S. and U.K. Prince Turki al-Faisal is cautioning the Trump team to clarify its stance on defeating “the biggest terrorist in Syria” — the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad — while at the same time praising the clear, ironfisted strategy of the U.S. toward Iran.
“Bashar al-Assad is the biggest terrorist. He has killed more people than Hamas, ISIS or al-Nusra,” Faisal said Sunday at the Middle East Policy Forum in New York, coordinated by the Israel Policy Forum, a think tank aimed at supporting and mobilizing the American Jewish community. “Therefore, the effort needs to be to convince Russia not to necessarily abandon, but to keep an arm’s distance from Mr. Assad. If that happens, we can get things happening in Syria.”
Russia, a prominent opponent of regime change globally, long has supported the Syrian president and is largely credited for turning around the country’s bloody civil war after it joined the bombing campaign to support pro-Assad forces in September 2015.
For his part, Assad consistently has acknowledged the brutal toll of the more than six-year war, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and displaced millions, yet has insisted that their fight has not been against an “opposition,” but against terrorists littered across the country.
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