Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is seen during an interview to the American magazine Foreign Affairs in Damascus..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Contradicting the official American policy towards the conflict in Syria, Republican State Senator Richard Black has voiced strong criticism against the Syrian opposition describing it as "a group of terrorists fighting against the legitimate government and the Syrian people."
The Syrian official news agency SANA reported Tuesday that Black arrived in Syrian for a three-day visit, the first visit of an American senator in Syria since 2012.
Upon his arrival, he told the state-run news agency: "What is happening in Syria is terror. The issue is that terrorists are fighting against the Syrian people and their legitimate government," adding that "there is no such thing as 'moderate opposition' in this country."
"Many people misunderstand the situation in Syria, and refuse to believe that all the groups fighting against the Syrian regime are terror groups," Black added.
"I know that the Syrian President Bashar Assad wants to have a modern state, where people would enjoy freedom of religion," he said, arguing that Assad is a legitimate president, since "he was legally elected in 2014 elections."
Expressing wonder over the Saudi intervention in Syria, the American senator asked: "How can states like Saudi Arabia, where elections have never taken place, push for elections in Syria and demand that it changes its constitution?"
In his meeting with the pro-Assad Speaker of the People's Council of Syria, Mohammad Jihad Lahham, Black argued: "The conflict in Syria affects the future of our civilization. Hence, if Syria loses this war, our civilization specifically and the humanity in general will suffer dangerous repercussions.
"The Russian intervention in Syria in order to vanquish terror engendered great changes and now I do not worry about the result of the Syrian army's battle against the terrorists," he said.
Meeting later with Bouthaina Shaaban, Assad's media advisor, Black said that when he gets back to the US, he will warn the American administration "not to provide military aid to the terrorists and mercenaries that are fighting in Syria."
Black, a Republican Senator for the state of Virginia, is known as a staunch supporter of the Syrian regime. In an interview with the Russian TV channel, Russia Today, in March 2015, he stated: "if Assad falls, ISIS will march to Europe."