Warn-torn Syria was one of the countries on Trump’s travel ban list. A bloody civil war has been raging on in Syria since 2011. Recently, Assad’s regime has managed to consolidate its position by retaking Aleppo, the stronghold of rebel forces and once Syria’s largest city. The Syrian regime, aided by its Russian and Iranian ally, is in control of Western parts of the country, fighting both ISIS and anti-regime rebel groups – such as al-Nusra.
The US, as well as other Western countries have blamed Assad for war crimes, and provided support to ‘democratic rebels’ in their fight to overthrow his regime. Since Russia started its intervention in Syria with the aim of assisting Assad’s forces, the war in Syria took a new turn. Previously insistent that ‘Assad must go’ the West is now forced to regard him as a potential partner in future talks about Syria’s future.
Assad on Trump’s Travel Ban
In an interview given to Europe1 radio and TF1 television, Assad said that Trump’s travel ban is not directed against the Syrian people.
It’s against the terrorists that would infiltrate some of the immigrants to the West. And that happened. It happened in Europe, mainly in Germany. I think the aim of Trump is to prevent those people from coming. It was not against the Syrian people.
During his presidential campaign, Trump has openly criticized the Obama administration for its involvement in Syria, and said (speaking on the US support for ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels) ‘we have no idea who these people are’.
In stark contrast with the policy of the Obama administration which provided support on the ground to various rebel groups, Trump has said that the US is willing to cooperate with Russia and Assad in Syria.
Assad’s regime and Russia consider many (if not all) rebel groups in Syria as terrorists. Assad also warned that Western support for rebels in Syria will lead to more terrorists attacks around the world.