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US must end support for terrorism, says lawmaker after secret Assad meeting



The United States must stop support for terrorism either through Turkey and Saudi Arabia or direct funding of Daesh, says an American lawmaker, returning from a secret meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat at the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives, made the remarks in a statement issued Wednesday.

The statement followed a four-day trip to Syria where she met with refugees, families of those armed on both sides as well as Assad.

The West maintains that the crisis gripping Syria since 2011 could only end by removal of the president from power. This is while the Syrian Army forces have been targeting the Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri terrorists, who are considered enemies also by the West.

“Originally, I had no intention of meeting with Assad, but when given the opportunity, I felt it was important to take it,” she said, yet breaking the taboo by adding, “I think we should be ready to meet with anyone if there’s a chance it can help bring about an end to this war, which is causing the Syrian people so much suffering.”

Viable peace

Gabbard also suggested that Assad is essential in bringing back calm to Syria, an idea rejected by mainstream Western politicians.

US Senator Bernie Sanders, (I-VT), waits alongside US Representative Tulsi Gabbard (L) to speak during a rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, November 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

“Whatever you think about President Assad, the fact is that he is the president of Syria. In order for any possibility of a viable peace agreement to occur, there has to be a conversation with him,” she told CNN.

The 35-year-old member of the Hawaii National Guard, who has also served in Iraq, met the Syrian leader two weeks after GOP nominee Donald Trump won the US 2016 presidential election on November 8, 2016, triggering speculations that she might be offered a position by the new administration to deal with the situation in Syria.

“We must stop directly and indirectly supporting terrorists — directly by providing weapons, training and logistical support to rebel groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIS (Daesh); and indirectly through Saudi Arabia, the [Persian] Gulf states and Turkey, who in turn support these terrorist groups,” she noted.

Damascus has long been complaining that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar are the main supporters of the Takfiri militants fighting committing war crimes in Syria.

In September 2014, the US and some of its allies started conducting airstrikes inside Syria against Daesh terrorists, many of whom were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to fight against the Syrian government.

According to observers, the attacks have done little damage to the terrorists and instead are aimed at weakening the country’s infrastructure.

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