During the election campaign the new US president had called the campaign against Damascus "madness". The Syrian leader calls for "caution" in "judging" Trump’s choices. But remain the "doubtful" that he can "keep" his promises. Moscow and Damascus resume bombing of Aleppo.
Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad says US president-elect Donald Trump would be a "natural ally" if he gives the go ahead to an all-out struggle against terrorism, though it remains "cautious" in "judging" the new occupant of the White House and prefers to wait for his first moves.
In an interview with Portuguese television RTP, he does not hide his "doubts" about Trump’s real capacity of being able to live "up to his promises."
In recent weeks, in full election, the new US president had called the joint campaign against the Islamic State (IS) and Syrian forces “madness". Furthermore, according to Trump a struggle against Damascus would have triggered - in the future – a clash with Russia.
Interviewed by the Portuguese television, Assad said that "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. ".
Trump’s pledge to fight Daesh [Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, IS] is "promising," adds Assad, who, however, doubts that he can really "meet" these expectations. What will happen, says the leader of Damascus, with the "opposing forces" within the new US administration and the mainstream media "who are against him?". That's why, concludes Assad, "we remain doubtful ... And that's why we are very cautious in judging him."
The (outgoing) US leader Barack Obama maintained the line of fighting the Islamic State and other jihadist groups while supporting the so-called "moderate" rebels who fight against President Assad. However, Damascus sees these "moderate" groups are actually "terrorists."
Some US media, including in the New York Times, state that Trump intends to block aid to these rebel groups fighting against Assad because "we have no idea who these people are." And there is also the possibility in the background of an open conflict with Moscow, an ally of Damascus, to push a rethink of the US agenda in Syria.
At the conclusion of the interview President Assad once again condemned the current US policy, saying that " hey think that they are the police of the world. They think they are the judge of the world. They're not."
The last line is reserved for the president turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan (enemy of Assad), called a "sick person" and a "megalomaniac ... who has lost touch with reality."
Meanwhile, after three weeks of disruption Syrian and Russian bombing has resumed against the eastern sector of Aleppo controlled by rebel groups and Islamic extremists. Local sources speak of at least five victims in the area where air strikes are concentrated. Fighters and helicopter gunships struck the districts of Haidaria, Masakin Hanano, Sakhour, Sheikh Faris, Bab al-Nairab, Qadi Askar and Qaterji.
Moscow officially denied the resumption of operations of Aleppo, Syria's second-largest city, but it confirms the launch of missiles against jihadi groups in other parts of the country. Among the goals a "terrorist training" camp, arms depots and "factories dedicated to the production of various types of weapons," some of them of potential mass destruction".
Moscow (and Damascus) continue the bombing campaign on the eastern sector. Spokesman for the Kremlin: the United States "not constructive rhetoric." Kerry Washington responds: we are "on the verge" of breaking off negotiations. The testimonies of Aleppo families who have fled the area in the hands of the rebels. The Gulf countries are ready to provide new weapons to anti-government militias.
The head of UN humanitarian operations speaks of people "isolated, starved, bombed without any medical care and humanitarian assistance." Government forces charged with deliberate use of "cruel tactics". In November, the rebels rockets on Aleppo killed more than 60 civilians in the western sector. The Security Council’s inaction.
Due to be published by August. The two super powers are pressing on Damascus and the opposition for "direct talks" and a strengthening of "political transition". The goal is the formation of a "transitional government". Government forces advance on Palmyra.
Kerry threatens to break relations if Russia does not stop attacks. Moscow accuses Washington of promoting a "policy of threats and blackmail". A think tank close to the Kremlin calls for Moscow to distance itself from Damascus. In Aleppo, Syrian forces seize a rebel-held area. Militias use civilians as human shields.
Last night “a partial and shaky" ceasefire went into effect between the two sides at war. Jihadist groups like the Islamic State and al Qaeda excluded. Fundamental role of diplomatic pressure from Russia and the United States, concerned about the escalation of violence. In less than two weeks 300 civilian casualties in the northern capital.