At the passport counter, a Syrian officer’s face lit up when he saw an American traveler.“Congratulations on your new president!” he exclaimed, giving an energetic thumbs up. Mr. Trump, he said, would be “good for Syria.”
Asked about Aleppo in an October debate with Clinton, Trump said it was a humanitarian disaster but the city had “basically” fallen. Clinton, he said, was talking in favor of rebels without knowing who they were.The rebels fighting Assad in western Syria include nationalists fighting under the Free Syrian Army banner, some of them trained in a CIA-backed program, and jihadists such as the group formerly known as the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.
President Obama has ordered the Pentagon to find and kill the leaders of an al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria that the administration had largely ignored until now and that has been at the vanguard of the fight against the Syrian government, U.S. officials said.That shift is likely to accelerate once President-elect Donald Trump takes office. … possibly in direct cooperation with Moscow.
U.S. officials who opposed the decision to go after al-Nusra’s wider leadership warned that the United States would effectively be doing the Assad government’s bidding by weakening a group on the front line of the counter-Assad fight.
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and other Pentagon leaders initially resisted the idea of devoting more Pentagon surveillance aircraft and armed drones against al-Nusra.
al-Qaeda hears of Clinton’s defeat, haz a sad (illustrative pic)
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action today to disrupt al-Nusrah Front’s military, recruitment, and financing operations. Specifically, OFAC designated four key al-Nusrah Front leaders – Abdallah Muhammad Bin-Sulayman al-Muhaysini, Jamal Husayn Zayniyah, Abdul Jashari, and Ashraf Ahmad Fari al-Allak – pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.
These designations were taken in coordination with the U.S. Department of State, which today named Jabhat Fath al Sham as an alias of al-Nusrah Front – al-Qa’ida’s affiliate in Syria.
Abdallah Muhammad Bin-Sulayman al-Muhaysini was designated for acting for or on behalf of, and providing support and services to or in support of, al-Nusrah Front.
He said he got a “beautiful” letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding that a phone call between them is scheduled shortly.
Although he wasn’t specific, Mr. Trump suggested a shift away from what he said was the current Obama administration policy of attempting to find moderate Syrian opposition groups to support in the civil war there. “I’ve had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria,” he said.He suggested a sharper focus on fighting Islamic State, or ISIS, in Syria, rather than on ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “My attitude was you’re fighting Syria, Syria is fighting ISIS, and you have to get rid of ISIS. Russia is now totally aligned with Syria, and now you have Iran, which is becoming powerful, because of us, is aligned with Syria. … Now we’re backing rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who these people are.”If the U.S. attacks Mr. Assad, Mr. Trump said, “we end up fighting Russia, fighting Syria.”
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