Senate

Dem senator to Trump: Reject Syria deal with Putin, Assad

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is urging Donald Trump to pledge that he won’t make a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin or Syrian President Bashar Assad to end the latter country’s five-year civil war. 

“I urge the President-elect to remember, before his Administration leaps to mend ties with Russia or change the U.S. position on the future of Assad, the chaos they have created in Ukraine and Syria,” Casey said in a statement, first obtained by The Hill. 
 
{mosads}He added that that Syria is not merely locked in a civil war. “This is the Russian Federation … and its client state dictator Bashar al-Assad slaughtering the Syrian people unchecked.” 
 
A source told Reuters that Russia wants to drive anti-Assad fighters out of the besieged city of Aleppo before Trump takes office early next year. 
 
Trump’s warmer take on Putin has earned skepticism from Democrats, and some Republicans, who worry he could concede to Moscow over the Syrian conflict. 
 
“Throughout his campaign President-elect Trump has sent disturbing signals about the way he views this conflict,” Casey said Tuesday. “Assad and Russia are not ‘fighting ISIS,’ as the President-elect has asserted; rather, the Assad regime and the Russian Federation are engaged in coordinated attacks that target civilians.”
 
Senators have also signaled that they are willing to break with Trump and take a harder line against Russia next year. 
 
Casey, who has also been critical of President Obama’s policies, added Tuesday that Trump must hold the Syrian and Russian governments “fully accountable,” and that without further U.S. involvement the multi-faceted fight in Syria will only worsen. 
 
Further steps the U.S. government could take could include implementing “no-bombing zones” and increasing sanctions against individuals and groups tied to human rights violations. Casey also said Tuesday that he continues to support “standoff strikes” against Assad’s airfields. 
 
Trump indicated last month that he disagreed with Vice President-elect Mike Pence and doesn’t support airstrikes against Assad. 
 
“He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree,” Trump said during a presidential debate last month.
Tags Bob Casey Donald Trump Mike Pence

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