18:13 GMT +315 November 2019
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    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets with Russian parliamentary delegation in Damascus

    Is White House Ready to Work With Syria's Assad in Fight Against Daesh?

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    White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has claimed that the Trump administration will ‘work with Russia or anyone else’ to quickly defeat Daesh, but, when asked if that included Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Spicer refused to give a clear answer.

    In a far-ranging news conference meant to "apologize" for his widely-derided first conference on Saturday, Spicer discussed press relations, anti-Trump protests, trade and foreign policy, and national security. 

    When the subject turned to Daesh, Spicer said "If there's a way we can combat [Daesh] with any country, whether it's Russia or anyone else, and we have a shared national interest in that, sure, we'll take it." This is in stark contrast to the policies of the previous administration, which decried the Russian presence in Syria.

    When asked if "anyone else" meant that the United States would be willing to ally with al-Assad, who had a cool relationship with President George W. Bush and near-hostility with President Barack Obama, Spicer hesitated.

    Spicer neither claimed willingness to cooperate with al-Assad nor did he rule out such a partnership. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves," he said.

    Spicer refused to comment on Russian claims that the Kremlin had flown a joint mission with American warplanes in Syria on Monday. "I would refer you to the Department of Defense," he said. The Pentagon has denied the coordination.

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    Tags:
    Syrian conflict, White House, Daesh, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Bashar al-Assad, Sean Spicer, Syria
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