US Republican Senator for the State of Virginia Richard Black sent a letter Tuesday to President Bashar al-Assad praising the Syrian leader and his army, while criticizing the US.
“I was pleased by the Russians’ intervention against the armies invading Syria," Black wrote. "With their support, the Syrian Army has made dramatic strides against the terrorists.”
Blacks letter came as Russian and French raids struck arms depots, barracks and other areas in Raqa city, the bastion of the Islamic State terrorist group in northern Syria.
Moscow began an air war in Syria, in coordination with embattled President Bashar al-Assad, on September 30. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed his military to work with France "as allies," and agreed in a phone call with French President Francois Hollande on "closer contact and coordination" of operations in Syria.
The US and France have been firm backers of Syria's uprising, while Russia and Iran have remained staunch allies of Assad.
Last week, Syrian government forces broke a siege by Islamic State of the Kuwairis airbase, east of Aleppo.
“I was delighted by Syria’s resounding victory over ISIS at the Kuwairis Airfield. My compliments to those who heroically rescued 1,000 brave Syrian soldiers from certain death. I am convinced that many such victories lie ahead,” Black said in his letter.
Black said that the war on Syria was not caused by domestic unrest, saying “It was an unlawful war of aggression by foreign powers determined to force a puppet regime on Syria. General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, revealed that by 2001, Western powers had developed plans to overthrow Syria. Yet after fifteen years, of military subversion, NATO, Saudi Arabia and Qatar still cannot identify a single leader who enjoys popular support among the Syrian people.”
“Foreign powers have no right to overturn legitimate elections and impose their will on the Syrian people. Syrians alone must determine their destiny, free of foreign intervention. I am disappointed that the UN has turned a blind eye to the unlawful interference in Syria’s internal affairs,” the Senator wrote in his letter to Assad.
Black said that before the war began, Syria had the greatest religious freedom and women’s equality of any Arab people.
"Many Americans are surprised to learn that the Syrian Constitution provides for free elections, religious freedom, women’s rights, and the Rule of Law," he wrote. "Before criticizing Syria, the US might first insist that our allies – Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait – grant similar freedoms to their own people.”
This is not the first time Black has written to Assad. In April 2014 Black sent an official letter to the Syrian president thanking "the Syrian Arab Army for its heroic rescue of Christians in the Qalamoun Mountain Range." He also praised Assad for "treating with respect all Christians and the small community of Jews in Damascus".