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Assad: Syrian conflict may be solved if US-Russian ties improve

December 30, 2016, 9:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Syrian leader has also accused the West of putting the goal of changing regimes in the Middle East above the fight against terrorism
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© EPA/SANA HANDOUT

MOSCOW, December 30. /TASS/. The armed conflict in Syria may be settled if US president-elect Donald Trump fulfills his electoral promise to mend ties with Russia, President Bashar Assad said in an interview with Italy’s Canale 5.

"We have cautious optimism, because we don’t know what kind of policy he [Trump] will pursue with regard to the Middle East in general, how he will communicate with various lobby groups in the United States, including those that oppose any solution in Syria and any improvement in ties with Russia," he said.

"However, we can say that a certain degree of optimism may be linked to the improvement of relations between the United States and Russia," he said. "Good relations between these two superpowers will benefit almost the entire world, including small states like Syria. In this regard, we can say that a solution for Syria is possible."

The Syrian leader accused the West of putting the goal of changing regimes in the Middle East above the fight against terrorism.

"The root of the problem now is the support of terrorist groups by the West, maybe not the Islamic State [outlawed in Russia], but other groups, labeled with tags like "moderate" or "white helmets"… in order to conceal their nature and achieve own political goals," he said. "That’s why nothing changes in Europe with regard to terrorism, the terrorists still carry out their attacks unimpeded, the situation remains unchanged because Western officials don’t want to handle this matter seriously."

The president added that modern terrorism is rooted in the religious doctrine of Wahhabism.

"If you want to solve the problem of terrorism, you need to destroy its core, the ideology of Wahhabism," Assad added.

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