Syrian President: Trump's pledge to fight terror 'promising'
Written by Malek

Aug. 19, 2009: This file photo shows Syrian President Bashar Assad during a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, Iran.

(CNN)Syria's leader has praised Donald Trump's rhetoric on terror, saying the new US President's pledge to prioritize the fight against terrorism, including ISIS, was "promising." "Trump during the campaign and after the campaign is promising regarding the priority of fighting terrorists, and mainly ISIS, that's what we've been asking for during the last six years," Assad said. "It's still early to expect anything practical. It could be about the cooperation between the US and Russia, that we think is going to be positive for the rest of the world, including Syria." It's not the first time the Syrian leader has praised Trump. In an interview with state media agency, SANA, last December, Assad said the then President-elect would be a "natural ally" if he held fast to his hard line on terrorists.

The strongman, who has ruled Syria since taking the reins of power from his father in July 2000, said that his government had left "no stone unturned" in attempts to bring opposition parties to the bargaining table in an attempt to end the civil war.
"(But) when you talk about terrorists, when you talk about Al Qaeda, when you talk about al-Nusra and ISIS, I don't think anyone in this world would believe that they are ready for dialogue," he said.
Assad said in the interview that the EU was "supporting the terrorists" in Syria. His government has repeatedly referred to opposition fighters, some of whom are supported by Western allies, as terrorists.
He dismissed the US-led coalition's campaign against ISIS as "a cosmetic operation" and "illusive," claiming that the terror group expanded during the duration of the campaign. He also said it was it was an illegal operation as it represented a breach of sovereignty.

Peace talks sponsored by Russia and Turkey in the Kazakhstan capital Astana are due to resume on February 15 and 16.
After initial talks in late January, delegates issued a statement saying they had agreed to "establish a trilateral mechanism to observe and ensure full compliance with the ceasefire, to prevent any provocations and determine all modalities of the ceasefire."
It also reaffirmed the parties' conviction that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that it can only be solved through a political process.
The UN delayed its own negotiations in Geneva, originally scheduled for Wednesday, to give more time for the relevant parties to unite after the Astana talks. They'll now be held on February 20.