DAMASCUS – A top aide of Syrian President says the American people sent a great message to world by electing Donald Trump on Tuesday.
“I think the American people have sent a great, a very important message to the world,” said Syrian presidential advisor Bouthaina Shaaban during an interview the other day.
Speaking to US media group National Public Radio – just a couple of days after Mr Trump’s seismic victory in the US general election – Shaaban cautiously suggested the Syrian government would “wait to see what are the policies of the President-elect… particularly towards terrorism,” ahead of any collaboration on Syria’s almost six-year-long civil war.
Shaaban stated that President Bashar Al-Assad is willing to cooperate with Donald Trump, if he meets the Syrian government’s expectations.
The President-elect has stated in the past that he does not seek to overthrow Bashar Al-Assad; however, the two presidents do not currently have any channels of communication.
The US has tacitly supported rebels in the war both logistically and financially. In order to bring peace to the conflict which has killed more than 400,000 people to date, Washington has been committed to the idea that Assad must be removed from power.
Trump has indicated that his foreign policy stance will be less interventionist than his predecessors’. He stated in the second presidential debate that regime change only causes more instability in the Middle East and while Assad is not exactly a welcome partner, shoring up his government is the best way to stem the extremism that has flourished in the chaos of Syria’s civil war.
The Republican has suggested withdrawing support for the Syrian rebels still fighting in east Aleppo, neighboring Idlib province and the south of the country, which could prove to finally tilt the war in the Syrian government’s favor.
The US is currently enmeshed in a complicated alliance in Syria with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who would like to provide rebels – among them al-Qaeda-backed factions – with surface-to-air missiles.
Analysts are worried that such a move could greatly escalate the war, particularly if Russian planes backing President Assad’s air force are targeted.
Donald Trump himself has indicated he would like to repair ties with Russia, a sentiment President Vladimir Putin has welcomed.