04:16 GMT19 September 2020
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    The Virginia State Senator who recently travelled to Syria claims that US Republican presidential candidates are being pressed to abandon the US policy of toppling the Syrian regime.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US Republican presidential candidates are being pressed to abandon the US policy of toppling the Syrian regime, the Virginia State Senator who recently travelled to the war-torn country to meet President Bashar Assad told Sputnik.

    “I was working with Senator Ted Cruz and his campaign. I moved his campaign toward a position where they agreed that they did not want to topple the Syrian government,” Virginia State Senator Richard Black said on Friday.

    He added that he will probably work with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump toward the end of ensuring the United States does not overthrow the legitimate Syrian government.

    “Listening to comments by Trump about his willingness to cooperate with Russia, about his focus on the terrorists rather than the legitimate government of Syria, I have hope…that we may make some progress,” he said.

    In late April, Black travelled to Syria where he was able to sit down with President Assad, First Lady Asma Assad, and a number of other military and political leaders.

    In addition to presidential candidates, Black is hopeful he can work with members of US Congress to create a dialogue “so that there is a greater comprehension of exactly what is going on in Syria.”

    The United States has virtually severed all ties with the Syrian government since the outbreak of civil war in Syria in 2011, and views the Assad government as illegitimate.

    Black is the elected representative for Loudoun County, Virginia, a wealthy district on the outskirts of Washington, DC.

    Richard Black also noted that the US deployment of troops into Syria without permission from the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad is a clear violation of the law.

    "We have put an additional 250 troops into principally the Kurdish held areas of Syria, we should have requested the permission of the government of Syria if we were going to do that," Black said.

    The senator added that it is "clearly unlawful to insert troops" as the United States has done.

    In late April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov referred to the activities of the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition in Syria as "illegal," stating that Russia is the only country legally engaging in counter-terrorism activities in the country.

    "The coalition has been a farce," Black asserted of the group of nations allied to fight Daesh in Syria and Iraq. "We are allied with the filth of the earth," he continued, referring specifically to coalition partners Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who have reportedly supported Islamic terrorists, including Daesh.

    The United States has deployed at least 300 special operations forces into Syria since the beginning of this year. The US troops are largely involved in non-combat operations, including training and equipping so-called moderate Syrian rebels and other indigenous forces to combat Daesh.


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